Utilities for your property in France

1922

utilities-property-franceLet’s now have a look at the two utilities related to the proper functioning of your new property in France. We remind you that you will receive your French property title deeds three months after the signing of the deed of sale at the Notaire. However, in a similar way to your insurance, you will be able to, thanks to the certificates of ownership given to you by the Notaire, to contact the various suppliers for the necessary utilities.

 

These approaches are usually extremely simple in your country of origin. However, they can become complex for you in France, in particular because of the language barrier. We are therefore by your side during the implementation of the two main utilities needed, electricity and gas.

Energy utilities in France

The two priority utilities that you need to put in place in your new property are electricity and gas. Unlike your property insurance, nothing very complex. Indeed, only a communication problem with telephone operators in France may slow you. Regarding the offers present on the market, suppliers are few and rates almost similar whatever the supplier. Nevertheless, you need to take certain steps upstream of this search. Otherwise, you will not be able to directly subscribe to a contract for these two utilities. Indeed, without a bank account in France, you will be unable to put in place these two utilities. Then, you will need to retrieve the phone line and its associated number from the former owner. Logically you will already have these two elements at the start of the search for utilities.

 

With regards to a French bank account, the latter will necessarily have been opened previously when you requested a mortgage from a bank in France. In the case of a cash purchase, as the owner of a property, you will have no problem opening an account.

 

Let us start by the first of these two utilities, electricity. To open your electricity account, you will need to subscribe to a supply contract. You will face  one of two situations after your property purchase.

 

  • The electricity in the property is cut off. It will then be necessary to subscribe to a contract for the supply of electricity. You will then be able to re-activate the meter. You then have the choice. Either you contact EDF (Electricity of France, the historic electricity provider) or a private company.
  • The electricity is still running. You still need to subscribe to an energy contract. A provider often maintains electricity for some time after the termination of a contract. However, in the absence of a new active supply contract, ENEDIS (the business managing the electrical networks in France) may decide to shut down the supply of electricity to your property any time.

Since 1 July 2007, all suppliers can have access to the utilities market of electricity and gas. In fact, before this date, EDF was the only company able to provide electrical contracts. EDF rates are regulated and updated every year. The opening of this market has allowed the arrival of new providers offering (slightly) lower tariffs than EDF. To subscribe to an electricity contract, you then have two options.

 

  • Subscribe to an EDF contract
  • Subscribe to an offer from another provider such that Direct Energie, Lampiris, Planète Oui or Happ-e

To subscribe to an electricity contract for your new property, nothing complicated. All you need to do is to follow the online steps given by the provider that you choose. You can also, in both cases, perform these steps by phone.

 

The big advantage with EDF is that this company has a team of English speaking advisors dedicated to non-resident owners. This could greatly simplify your task. This team is reachable from any country at +33 9 69 36 63 83. We always recommend to foreign buyers collaborating with us to subscribe to a contract with EDF. Indeed, in the case of a problem, an English-speaking advisor will be directly in contact with you. This advisor will then be able to quickly understand your request and provide you with the necessary answers.

 

Additionally, opening the market to private companies did not lead to a meaningful reduction in electricity prices. The savings provided by taking a contract with one of the private suppliers remain minimal.

 

You will need to provide the following information to subscribe to an electrical supply.

 

  • Your personal details (names, phone number and nationality)
  • The certificate from the Notaire confirming that you are the owner of the property
  • Your meter reading on the day you move in
  • Your bank details (must be a French bank)
  • The surface area of your property
  • The list of your facilities
  • Equipment supplied by electricity

gas-property-franceAfter your subscription to one of the contracts available on the marketplace, you will need to activate your meter. You need to have electricity as soon as you first move into your property. Therefore, we recommend that you start this process roughly 10 days before you move in. You will have to make an appointment with a ENEDIS technician who will activate your meter.

 

If the electricity is cut off in your property, the supplier chosen will offer you a date for an activation appointment with a technician from ENEDIS. It is important to differentiate between EDF and ENEDIS. ENEDIS is responsible for the management of electrical networks while EDF is responsible for the distribution. You will never receive invoices from ENEDIS. Indeed, EDF pays directly ENEDIS. Once the activation complete, you can use the meter and your own electricity contract.

 

Activation costs associated with the technician’s visit vary depending on your deadline. It also depends on whether ENEDIS has already cut off the electricity or not.

 

Activation delay Price
If the electricity is not cut off24.08
If the electricity is cut off (standard activation 5 to 10 days)24.08
If the electricity is cut off (express activation 24-48h)61.05
Rates and delays for the activation of an electrical meter as of 08/08/2017

The cost of electricity in France is broken down into two parts. First, an annual fixed subscription. Then comes your consumption in kilowatt hour. In terms of the tariffs, the State regulates EDF prices according to a strict scale.

 

Subscribed power kVA Annual subscription Price of the kilowatt hour
367.040.15460
6100.740.14660
9118.740.14830
12137.120.14830
EDF regulated tariffs as of 08/08/2017

The choice of the subscribed power depends on your electrical installation. Additionally, it also depends on the power used by your electrical appliances when used at the same time. So, which meter… 3, 6, 9 or 12 kVA?

 

  • 3kVA. This will be roughly sufficient for a 30m2 dwelling with a fridge, a TV and small electrical appliances for the kitchen. Additionally, the heating and hot water are provided by gas and not by electricity. In this case, you should opt for a power of 3 kVA. It is the smallest meter on the market.
  • 6kVA. For medium sized properties where radiators and water are heated by gas. You have a washing machine, a dishwasher likely to operate along with other household appliances. This meter should be enough for you.
  • 9kVA. Suitable for a property of approximately 100 square meters where heating, cooking and hot water are provided by electricity. Allows you to simultaneously have a complete set of appliances working (tumble dryer, washing machine, oven and electric plates).
  • 12kVA. Reserved to individuals living in large properties (over 100 square meters), completely heated with electricity and likely to operate audio-visual and electrical equipment as well as computers all at the same time.

In comparison, here are the similar subscribed power tariffs for private providers compared with the regulated EDF rate.

 

Supplier Annual subscription Price of the kilowatt hour
EDFRegulated tariffRegulated tariff
Direct EnergieIdentical to the regulated tariff of EDF5% reduction compared with regulated tariffs
Lampiris (100% green offer)Identical to the regulated tariff of EDF10% reduction compared with regulated tariffs
Planète Oui20% reduction compared with regulated tariffs (subject to terms and conditions)Identical to the regulated tariff of EDF
Happ-eIdentical to the regulated tariff of EDF8% reduction compared with regulated tariffs
Tariff Comparison EDF/ private suppliers as of 08/08/2017

Nothing really complex to subscribe to an electricity contract and power your new property, either with EDF or of another supplier. The reduction obtained when you subscribe with a private supplier remains minimal. Allow 30 minutes on the phone to organise this contract. Think ahead and prepare all the documents listed above to avoid having to call a second time. In addition, make sure that you list to the advisor all the equipment that requires electricity so that he can determine the most adequate power rating for your meter.

 

The second energy utility required for the proper running of your property in France is gas. The procedures and the information required is the same as for the implementation of an electricity contract. You can choose between a subscription with the historical gas company in France (Engie, previously GDF Suez) or opt for one of the offers from a private company. Here are some private companies in France distributing gas.

 

  • EDF Gas
  • Direct Energie
  • Lampiris

Once you have subscribed to one of the offers on the market, you will then have to activate your meter. To benefit from gas upon your arrival, we recommend that you start this procedure at least a week before you move in. The rates for activating the gas meter are the following.

 

Activation delay Price
5 days18.26
Express activation 24h to 48h58.60
Urgent activation under 24h140.61
Rates and delays for the activation of a gas meter as of 08/08/2017

Then, like for electricity, you will have to pay a fixed part (the subscription) and a variable part linked to your consumption. You will need to choose your subscription based on the equipment supplied by gas in your new property (heating, hot water). First, let’s present the regulated tariffs, when the gas is distributed by Engie. Like electricity, the rate of gas in France is made of annual fixed subscription and a variable part related to your consumption. You then need to list all the equipment in your property in France running on gas.

 

Class of consumption Annual subscription Price of the kilowatt hour
Cooking only85.830.07830
Cooking + hot water92.760.07040
Cooking + hot water + heating230.710.04990

As for the electricity, you can turn to a private company to obtain a very slight reduction on your invoice.

 

Supplier Annual subscription Price of the kilowatt hour
EngieRegulated tariffRegulated tariff
Direct EnergieIdentical to the regulated tariff of Engie5% reduction compared with regulated tariffs
EDF GasIdentical to the regulated tariff of Engie6% reduction compared with regulated tariffs
LampirisIdentical to the regulated tariff of Engie10% reduction compared with regulated tariffs

So, the establishment of the two utilities required for the proper running of your new property will not be too difficult. Apart for communication problems with the suppliers in France, nothing is too complex and this should not give you too much trouble. To save time, please remember to approach the supplier you have chosen at least 10 days before you first arrive at your new home. This will allow you to benefit from electricity right away. The best thing is to plan an appointment with the networks technicians the day you arrive.

 

About the author

Samir Grattery is the creator of French Property Connection. Holder of a Master in Property Law from the University of Sorbonne in Paris, Samir first worked as an estate agent. He was then working on behalf of sellers and defended their interests. He then decided to solely collaborate with buyers. Working as a property finder in Paris, he accompanied non-residents throughout their purchase project and protected their interests against sellers.

In 2015, after moving to the United Kingdom, he created French Property Connection to enable non-residents wishing to buy a property in France to simplify their purchase process, particularly by avoiding the pitfalls and problems usually faced by foreign buyers.

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Comment or ask us something about utilities in France

4
  1. Olga says:

    gas is measured in kilowatt hour?!?

    • Dear Olga,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Actually, the gas is measured in cubic meter but it is invoiced to you by the French company in Kilowatt hour.

      The average conversion rate is 11.2 Kwh/cubic meter. Depending on several factors especially the property altitude this rate may slightly differ.

      I hope that’s clear to you.
      Regards,

      Samir

  2. Adam says:

    Hello French Property Connection, is it easy to set up an Internet connection in France?
    Thanks

    • Hello Adam,

      No difficulties for you to set up Internet in your new property in France. The most difficult task is to make your choice between the different French providers able to deal with your request!

      You can have a look at “Free”, “Orange” or “SFR” in order to get some quotes matching your needs!

      Regards,
      Samir