If you are moving to France, you'll likely want to sort out your utilities as soon as you arrive, and this includes your energy contracts. But before you get started, it is advisable to do a bit of research to make sure you are getting yourself the type of offer, provider and tariff right for your situation.
Read on to get help with exactly that.
What does a French Electricity Bill Include?
The first thing to note about French electricity contracts is that they are made up of 2 distincts charges, which will come off your account on a monthly basis.
- The price of subscription or the prix de l'abonnement in French. This is a fixed monthly price, that goes towards your provider's administrative costs and those of the energy grid operator, ENEDIS. This price can vary depending on the provider, the capacity and the tariff you selected.
- The price per kWh, which is the charge you pay for each consumed kWh.This price depends on your supplier and the type of offer chosen. You typically have the choice between the regulated tariffs and the competitive tariffs (more info on that below).
The Types of Electricity Rate Options in France
In France, all energy contracts are non-binding, which means that you'll be able to cancel your plan or change your supplier free of charge, whenever you wish.
The French Regulated Tariffs
The first type of tariff you can opt for is the regulated tariff (RT).
Many French people opt for this type of tariff, in part because it feels "safe" as it is regulated, and in other part because they aren't aware that other options exist.
The French Competitive Tariffs
In addition to the regulated tariffs, you'll also be able to sign up to a competitive priced offer. These are proposed by most French electricity providers, and will automatically give you a fixed and permanent discount on your subscription and/or the price of each kWh, compared to the regulated tariffs (so, you might pay 5% less than the regulated tariff every month for instance).
If you go for this option, you then have to determine whether you want this competitive offer to set you a fixed or indexed price, whether you want your offer to be green or not and whether you will also need gas on top of electricity.
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Indexed Prices for Electricity
Your first option is to go for indexed electricity prices. Here, tariffs will follow to RT and come with a % off either each kWh and/or the monthly subscription price.
For instance, if you opt for the Total Direct Energie Indexed Online offer, you will get 10% off the RT (before tax) every month. If the RT suddenly increases / decreases, then the price you pay will increase / decrease too, always staying 10% under the RT.
This option has the advantage of guaranteeing you a discount on the RT every single month, meaning you'll always be better off compared to the latter.
However, this pricing type does not prevent you from rate increases. In other words, if the RT goes up, your monthly kWh price will do so too (albeit to a lesser extent), making this a fairly unstable rate.
On another note, make sure you know for how long this discount applies - it could be 1, 2 or 3 years for instance. The longer, the better, but keep in mind you can always change your supplier for free when you want, so you could do so at the end of the fixed price discount, and switch to a more interesting indexed offer.
Fixed Prices for Electricity
Another option is to opt for fixed electricity prices, which, contrary to the indexed prices, are stable and set in stone for a specific period of time (1 or 3 years, typically).
For instance, if you subscribe to ekWateur, you will get access to a green electricity offer which guarantees you a fixed price, cheaper than the RT, for a year. If ever the RT increases during that year, the price you pay won't be affected.
This offer has the advantage of protecting you from any potential increases in the RT.
This said, this option might mean you pay a bit more than the indexed prices on a monthly basis.
Prices for Green Electricity
If the idea of contributing to renewable energy sources appeals to you, you can select a competitive green energy option. These options come with either indexed or fixed prices. You'll get the guarantee that for every monthly payment you make, your provider will invest in an equivalent amount of renewably-sourced energy.
Depending on the supplier, rates can be more competitive than the regulated tariff, or slightly higher.
Prices for Dual Energy
Finally, if you're also going to need gas for your house in France, kill two birds with one stone and get yourself a dual energy offer!
A good option in this case is the dual energy offer issued by Total Direct Energie which is known as its Offre Directe Electricité + Gaz. By combining both energies, you will get 5% off the price of your gas and electricity consumptions, and this will make things a lot simpler for you as you have one contract, one bill, and one unique provider to interact with.
Examples of French Electricity Tariffs
You may be now wondering, which of these offers is right for me? There is no one-size-fits-all answer, however there are some options that'll be better fitted to you than others, depending on what your priorities are.
- If budget is your priority, go for the indexed prices. This way, you are getting a competitive plan which guarantees savings every month on the RT. Discounts usually go from 2% to 10%. Total Direct Energie has a very strong discount with its Online Offer, as it gives you 10% off the price of each kWh before tax. Ideal for international students.
- If price protection is your priority, go for fixed prices. You can go for Eni or ekWateur in this case, as you will get a competitive price per kWh secured for 12 to 36 months.
- If environment preservation is your priority, go for a green provider such as Planète Oui, ilek or Eni.
- If you need gas in addition to electricity, go for a Dual Offer, such as the one offered by ekWateur or Total Direct Energie.
Below is the detail of the offers presented above, to sum things up.
|What do you want?||What we recommend||For more info|
|Supplier||What you get|
|I want very competitive prices, even if these are subject to variations||
|A 100% online offer, which guarantees you 10% off the RT at all times.||
Call 01 86 26 53 46
|I want to pay a stable yet quite competitive price||
||Call 01 86 26 53 46|
|I want to practise eco-friendliness||
||Call 01 86 26 53 46|
|I want to also get gas supply||Offre Duo||
||Call 01 86 26 53 46|