It’s Gas and Electricity Deregulation – but Not as We Know It

It’s Gas and Electricity  Deregulation – but Not as We Know It

Homeowners in France are free to choose their suppliers of gas and electricity. EU rules that came into force on 1 July 2007 have broken the monopoly of EDF and GDF on domestic supplies.

In theory this means that consumers can shop around to find the best prices from among EDF, GDF and the dozen or so of private suppliers such as Poweo.

Previously EDF and GDF prices were regulated by the government and cannot rise above the rate of inflation.

However, if a household now chooses to leave EDF or GDF in search of cheaper tariffs, they can never go back to those regulated tariffs if they change their mind in the future. They will be able to sign up for other tariffs that GDF and EDF may offer – but not the regulated one.

Moreover this rule does not apply to individual consumers – but to the house where the gas or electricity is supplied.

So if a homeowner leaves a regulated tariff with EDF in favour of a new supplier and later sells that house, the new owner cannot then opt for a regulated tariff.

The rules also apply to houses that are rented out – the tenant will be able to change the gas or electricity supplier, meaning that the owner of that property will never be able to return it to a regulated tariff even if they want to.

Already the national federation of estate agents FNAIM is warning of the possibility of legal disputes between landlords and tenants over the switching of energy suppliers.

‘An owner can’t tolerate being bound forever by the past decision of a tenant who may only be there a few months,’ said a spokeswoman. The federation blames the EU for rules which they say will discourage landlords letting out property at the very time the federation is trying to get more rented accommodation on the market.

The federation also believes that the type of energy supply a property has – regulated or unregulated – may affect property values or become a negotiating point for buyers.

Meanwhile even consumers groups have been warning consumers to consider carefully before taking the irrevocable decision to end their regulated energy supplies.

The alternative suppliers are currently offering prices that are between 5% and 10% lower than EDF and GDF. However many fear that they will rise in the future, if and when they have signed up customers.

The French competition authorities have set up a website – in French – giving consumers more information. It’s at:

The FrenchEntrée team

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  • Rishi Rishi
    2022-10-25 08:40:43
    Rishi Rishi
    A typical residential home uses alternating current (AC) electricity. AC is normally delivered via electricity transmission lines, which run along roads and highways, and is transmitted to local substations. These substations convert the electricity into direct current (DC), the type used to power household devices. The electricity produced at substations ranges from 120 VAC/240 VAC to 277VAC/500 VAC depending on the locale. Electricity is created by connecting a generator to a motor and sending it through a series of gears. The gears create a constant motion, which in turn creates a continuous flow of electrons -- the electricity. The electricity travels from the generator to the motor through wires called conductors. The number of conductors inside a wire varies based on the size of the current being delivered. Smaller amounts require fewer conductors than larger amounts. The speed at which the generator turns determines the frequency at which the electrons oscillate. Higher frequencies mean lower voltages. Lower voltages mean higher voltages. Voltage is measured in units of Volts. Most commonly, 110 VAC is used in North America, 115 VAC is used in Europe and 240 VAC is used in Australia. Frequency is measured in hertz and ranges from 50Hz to 60Hz. A three phase system consists of three separate circuits, each with a different frequency. Each circuit is separated by two magnetic poles of opposite polarity (like north and south). Three-phase systems have been used since the 18th century to generate electricity because they allow for much greater efficiency. Three-phase power is often preferred by companies for its stability and reliability. However, most small scale applications do not require this level of control due to the relatively large cost involved in installing the equipment. Instead, a single line can serve many smaller loads without any problems. One disadvantage of three-phase power is that it produces less torque than single-line power. Another disadvantage is that if one phase fails, it affects other phases. Additionally, three-phase power is more expensive to install and maintain.