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Taking out electricity subscription: all you need to know

Unless you plan to live your life in candlelight, you do have to subscribe to electricity to have light, heating and power at home. This means taking out an EDF subscription. Unfamiliar with that? No worries, here's all you need to know. 

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Taking out electricity subscription


All you need to know to get an electricity contract

Why opening an EDF account?

Access to electricity is essential, but the situation differs according to the kind of dwelling you’re in. 

If you live in a student residence, there is generally no need to subscribe to anything:  residence managers take care of everything and rent includes costs related to electricity. 
If you are moving into a shared flat, the flatmates already living in the accommodation will already have made the necessary arrangements for the accommodation to have electricity (hopefully for them anyway!). You just have to agree on how the costs are to be shared.  

For accommodation in a private home, such as an apartment for example, you will have to take care of the subscription yourself. 

How to choose my electricity supplier?

The first thing to think before subscribing to any plan is which supplier you’re going with. 75% of homes in France work with EDF, but the electricity market is open to competition since 2017 and more and more alternative suppliers have rose on the market these recent years, like Direct Energie for example. ENEDIS remains the energy source for the two different suppliers. 

If you’d rather go for an alternative supplier, you can use one of the many comparators that exist for this purpose. 

How to choose my electricity plan?

Once you have chosen the supplier, you will have to select your offer. There are several criteria to take into account, which of course have an influence on the price of your contract. Two of them stand out. 


Firstly, the power of the meter is something to look at closely. The higher your electricity consumption, the more powerful the meter has to be, otherwise the fuses might blow and the meter can cut out! For an individual, the meter’s power ranges from 3 to 36kVA. Students generally have small homes, so their meter’s power hardly ever exceeds 15kVA. For most people, relatively low power (between 3 and 10kVA) is more than enough. To get an idea of the power required, it may be a good idea to consult the dwelling’s energy sheet. If it is poorly insulated, for example, the dwelling consumes a lot of energy for heating and will probably need a higher power. You can also check the condition of the electrical appliances, which can give a good indication of their consumption. The papernest tool can be of great use to you! 


Then, you should pay attention to the hourly rate. There are often two possibilities:  


  • The Tarif Bleu:  EDF’s basic option. A fixed price per kWh, regardless of the season and time of the day. The price per kWh depends on the meter’s power: the lower its power consumption (between 3kVA and 6kVA), the cheaper the subscription. 
  • The Tarif Bleu heures pleines/heures creuses : this option charges you differently following the time of the day. The pricing is attractive during 8 hours at night (off-peak hours) and rather disadvantageous the other 16 hours (peak hours). For this plan to be profitable, you have to use electrical household appliances primarily at night (40% during off-peak yours), which isn’t always very convenient. This tariff is mostly profitable to large dwellings equipped with electrical heating and who can adjust their hot water tank to run at night. The basic Tarif Bleu option is probably the better fit for you! 

How to open my EDF account? 


Documents to have on hand

As with any administrative procedure (rental application, home insurance, bank account, etc.), you will need a list of documents to provide in order to take out an electricity contract.  In most cases, you will be asked: 

  • your new apartment’s full address 
  • the place’s specification  (square meters, number of rooms…) 
  • the date you’re planning on moving in 
  • the numbers on the electricity meter (usually wrote down or photographed at the moment of the check-in inventory of fixtures
  • the previous tenant’s name if you know it: it’s not compulsory, but it makes it easier for the EDF counselor to find the electricity meter’s references 
  • your bank details


Access to electricity

Once you've put your supporting documents together,  you can contact your supplier on the phone or go through their online service. After your subscription, you will have an online dashboard from which you can manage your contract and options, access your bills, etc.


The meter’s activation isn’t immediate: if electricity was cut before your arrival, EDF will send an operator to turn the power back. This usually takes 5 working days. 


To be safe, contact EDF 15 days before you move in in order to get familiar with the different possible electricity plans and get things started.


There might be electricity in the place when you visit it or when you move in - it doesn’t mean that you don’t need open an account for electricity. It’s simply that the previous tenant’s electricity provider didn’t cut the power yet. If you just leave it be, you’ll end up with a power cut.



How much does an EDF subscription cost?


It depends on the plan... 


The cost depends for the most part on the place’s square footage. EDF has an online tool that helps you estimate your consumption and energy label. 


For a 20 square meters dwelling with electrical heating, plan on a €30 monthly bill. 

Depending on the number of residents, of electrical household appliances and on a few other criteria, your electricity bill can be of €600 to €1000 a year. 


If a meter reactivation is necessary, it costs €18,26 and this fee is coupled with your first bill. The fee is the same for all energy providers.


Terminating your contract remains free of charge, regardless of the motive. 

… and your consumption habits! 

Of course, the nature of the contract you have taken out will influence your electricity expenses. But it is above all your consumption habits that make the difference! Keep in mind that the more electricity you use, the higher your bill will be at the end of the month. For the sake of your wallet (and the planet), here are a few tips to save money on your electricity bill:


  • The basic stuff: turning the lights off when you leave the room! 
  • Use low energy lamps, they’re far more long-lasting than incandescent bulbs and consume 5 times less energy. Avoid halogen lamps: they aren’t necessarily useful and consume an awful lot. 
  • Lower or turn off heating when you’re not in the place. 1 degree less in temperature is 7% less energy consumed. A good reason to wear this christmas sweater of questionable taste that’s gathering dust in your closet. 
  • Take care of your fridge. Nobody knows that, but if there’s frost in your fridge, it increases electricity consumption. Putting a dish that’s still hot in your fridge also does. Don’t forget to clean the grid that’s behind the fridge once a year. 
  • Avoid switching all of your appliances at the same time. If all of your plugs are at use simultaneously, it can’t be good.

Means of payment

Frequent of payment is often by month. You can choose the method of payment: direct debit order, paying by card online, cheques, cash in a post office… The most convenient being direct debit.

Studapart helps you in opening an electricity contract 

Balayez vos doutes grâce à notre ressourcerie


Subscribing to an electricity plan is yet another administrative formality that takes time and caution.  No worries! The Studapart resource centre is full of articles dealing with all the steps that tenants will have to take to prepare their rental, and also once they moved in.  Feel free to have a look at them if you have any doubts! 

Our support team's expertise

If you haven’t found what you were looking for in the resource centre, send us an e-mail or give us a call. Our experts speak several languages and are available 6/7 days for support and guidance. 

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