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EDF France will not cut off customers who fail to pay their bills

The electricity company will continue providing enough power for “essential purposes” such as lighting but not enough for central heating

EDF has decided that it will no longer cut off the electricity supply of those who fail to pay their bills Pic: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

EDF has announced that it will no longer cut off the electricity of people who fail to pay their bills following the sharp rise in French energy tariffs. 

Read more: Why do my French electricity bills keep rising despite competition?

“We have committed to supporting our customers in the case of unpaid bills by putting an end to the [practice of] cutting off electricity supply, EDF announced in a press release on November 12.

Instead, starting in April 2022, the provider will limit the power distributed to the household to a maximum of 1,000 watts. This is not time limited. 

''With 1000 watts, you can use the light, the television, the coffee machine and charge your electronic devices. All this at the same time, as these appliances do not consume much power. On the other hand, a washing machine, an oven and the heating system consumes more than 1000 watts, so their use is not possible in the case of power limitation'' claims EDF.

Electricity and gas suppliers are already obliged to maintain customer supply throughout the winter even if they fail to pay their bills. This is due to the trêve hivernale (winter period) which lasts from November 1 until April 1. 

Read more: France’s winter housing eviction truce to begin on November 1

EDF’s new policy will allow customers who cannot pay their bills to continue using electricity for “essential purposes” such as “lighting, phone charging, water heating, washing machine, internet or even a small fridge,” although it will not be enough to keep the heating going. 

This “will apply in all cases, except when it is physically or technically impossible to limit the power of the property’s electricity supply,” EDF said. 

Each year, “between 200,000 and 300,000 homes are deprived of electricity because they do not have the means to pay for it,” Olivier Challan-Belval, of government comparison site Médiateur national de l’énergie, told Franceinfo.

“In a context marked by a rise in concerns linked to the price of energy, we are making a responsible and supportive choice which focuses on listening to any customers that are in need,” said EDF managing director Jean-Bernard Lévy.

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