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French smart thermostat being given away in exchange for energy data

The firms behind it claim the device, usually worth around €100, cuts bills by up to a third. It can be installed on any radiator to control that room’s temperature

The new device claims it will reduce your heating bills by up to 35% Pic: Pixavril / Shutterstock

Nine million homes in France are heated by electricity but the current war in Ukraine, paired with the fact that several French nuclear power plants are out of action, is putting a severe strain on production, increasing the risk of shortages and blackouts. 

In February 2023, regulated electricity bills will rise by a further 15% and would rise considerably higher were it not for the government’s bouclier tarifaire cap

So the multi-billion euro question is how can we avoid this price hike? And even reduce our bills?

Two French companies have teamed up to offer an energy management system for homes which will control energy consumption and, they claim, save up to 35% on the annual heating bill.

The device has been produced by Effy, a specialist in energy conservation and efficiency, in partnership with Tiko, another energy management specialist.

Read also: Power cuts in France: what plans for transport, lifts and healthcare?

Remote controlled via an app

The anti-waste and innovative solution comes in the form of a smart thermostat that allows you to heat according to your specific needs. 

Controlled via an application, the device helps to manage each radiator in the house, and to choose the temperature room by room.

The system can be controlled remotely and can be installed on all electric radiators, regardless of the model, the age of your radiators or the technology they use (inertia, radiant, etc). 

It can be installed without nails or screws and is free if you use the Effy version, or €9 from Tiko. 

It does not require any subscription and will allow savings of 35%, or €600 on current prices if you are in the average category and use roughly €1,800 of electricity per year, it is claimed.

Some parts of France, such as Cap Atlantique, which includes 15 municipalities, 12 of which are in the Loire-Atlantique region and three in the Morbihan department, already offer this free service in partnership with Voltalis, which manufactures the boxes. But this is the first time that companies have offered it on a large scale.

Smart box on every radiator

Customers using the system must install a small box on each radiator, then place the central unit in your main room. Then the app will be able to programme your heating room by room, day by day, and to the quarter of an hour. 

If you have an office for teleworking which you use for eight hours from 09:00, the device will keep the room at 15°C when you are not working and will bring it up to the required temperature when you are. You can even programme it to turn off while you take a lunch break. 

Lowering the temperature by one degree can save 7% on your bill.

Currently, 50,000 households are using the smart thermostat offer. “This system makes it possible to make an outdated installation intelligent, modern and controllable without having to change the radiator. Indeed, changing a radiator costs between €800 and €2,000," claims Frederic Utzmann, joint founder of Effy. 

The system can be installed in two hours. Though free for the consumer if you go with Effy, it costs the manufacturers several hundred euros per sensor. 

Who can benefit? 

In order to be eligible for this scheme, you must have electric central heating and have at least three radiators, not including in bathrooms, having a Linky meter and an internet connection. 

So what’s in it for the manufacturers? 

They resell the energy data to the Réseau de Transport Électrique, and thus receive a fee paid by RTE. 

"Energy sobriety is often seen as a concession, a loss of comfort, a decline, whereas there are modern solutions that allow us to live better and spend less at the same time," claims Mr  Utzmann.

You can find out more about Tiko’s smart thermostat and how to get one here, and about the Effy scheme here (in French). You can order a device using Tiko and Effy’s combined website. 

This comes as electricity network operator RTE reports that French consumption is continuing to drop as a result of energy-saving measures. Last week, usage fell by 8.3% compared to the average from the years 2014-2019, and this drop applies to "all sectors", RTE stated yesterday (December 6).

Related articles 

Why rural areas in France are expected to be worst hit by power cuts

Energy prices in France: People without Linky meters risk paying more

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