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Electricity in France is generally provided by EDF (Electricité de France), which is state owned, although households are free to choose their own electricity supplier.
Details on installing electricity or moving home relevant to residential customers (particuliers) and businesses (professionels) are available in French on the EDF website.
ERDF handles the breakdown service (dépannage).
There is also an English-language information service by telephone for foreigners in France.
Note: EDF are responsible for the supply of electricity, while ERDF is a subsidiary of EDF, responsible for the distribution.
New tenants or property owners should contact EDF as early as possible to give the date for the move. On the first day in the new property, they should contact EDF again to make sure the meter reading is taken that day, to avoid the possibility of paying for the previous tenants electricity.
EDF service can be established or transferred by telephone. The customer must supply their full name, address and bank account details (even if they choose to pay future bills by cheque). A re-connection fee is only charged if the supply has been cut off; a bill for this is sent approximately two weeks later.
Customers can choose between a number of different proposed tariffs, which depend on their usage, number of people in the dwelling and type of heating.
Electricity bills are sent every two months and are based on an estimation of usage. If paying by cheque or direct debit, the bill must be paid within 15 days. Customers may also choose to pay by direct debit on a monthly basis, over a period of ten or eleven months. At the end of this period, the customer either receives a bill for extra consumption or receives a credit on their EDF account. Meters are read every six months.
To avoid estimated bills, clients may also chose the option Service Relevé Confiance, where customers read their meter and report the number on it four times per year.
Before moving house, tenants or owners should contact EDF at least 48 hours before vacating the property. If moving to another home, contact EDF on the day of the move, providing them with a meter reading of the old and the new property to transfer the electricity contract.
Over recent years a number of electricity companies using renewable energy have been set up in France. EDF has its own subsidiary company, called EDF Energies Nouvelles.
Alternatively there are a number of other companies offering services:
UK citizens aged 60 years old and over are, under certain conditions, eligible for winter fuel payment when living in another EEA country.