Many people who previously sought a better deal on electricity with private companies are returning to EDF due to the cap on price rises to the state-regulated tariff.
EDF has an obligation to offer contracts at the regulated price. To return to this after previously switching to an alternative provider, all you need to do is contact EDF, or in some cases the local distribution company, which will terminate your contract with your current provider.
The price of wholesale electricity in France reached €1,000 per megawatt hour in August – up from around €85 per megawatt hour last year.
In September 2021, the government capped regulated tariffs at a 4% rise, which will remain in place until the end of this year, when prices will rise by 15%, insulating EDF customers from the worst of the energy crisis.
Read more: Regulated French gas and electric prices to be capped at a 15% rise in 2023
Alternative suppliers can either offer prices which are different to, but indexed on, this tariff, or prices which fluctuate with the global market. Several smaller suppliers, including Planète OUI, have gone bust over the past year as a result of rising market prices due largely to the war in Ukraine.
Alternative suppliers urge switch back to EDF
Others have imposed significant price increases, and have even urged clients to switch to EDF, as is the case with Mint Energie, which acquired Planète OUI.
British retiree Mela McQueen, who lives in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, received an email from Mint Energie in August.
It said her electricity prices would be increasing by 35%, but if she switched to the regulated tariff, she would spend €523 per year, saving €549 compared to their prices.
“I immediately rang the EDF English helpline and changed my supplier to their tarif bleu regulated tariff,” she said. “It was simple to do. The adviser was helpful, clear and set it all up over the phone.
“At midnight the same day, my supply was transferred to EDF. He set my direct debit up at the same time. I did have to wait quite a long time before EDF answered but it was worth it.”
Read more: Can I change my French electricity supplier for a cheaper alternative
Norman Lauritsen, a Scottish retiree who now lives in Pyrénées-Orientales, left EDF a few years ago for a group buying deal with Planète OUI, via Mr Bricolage, before the former was taken over by Mint Energie.
“The cost of my electricity gradually crept up to €3,200 per year,” he said. “Only when I received my latest notification of a whopping 42% rise, taking it to about €4,600, did I finally get around to looking at a price comparison site. “I called EDF and have been offered a tariff with 9kVA, compared to my previous 6kVA, for about €2,200.”
Yorkshire native Bruce Dennis, 64, who now lives in Charente-Maritime, had been with Mint Energie for almost three years on a flexible tariff when he was informed his monthly payments would jump from €85 to €179 in October. He was told he could save €1,049 per year with the regulated tariff.
“I phoned EDF on the number Mint Energie gave but was on hold for almost an hour, so I phoned the English-speaking line and got through within minutes,” he said.
“I filled out a form online with my details, but I couldn’t complete it and was asked to phone. The person on the line was very helpful and said he could see I had filled out the form, and put me on hold for about 20 minutes.
“He talked me through the details and answered my questions. I would definitely recommend doing it if you can save money.”
The government website energie-info.fr has a comparison tool which allows you to find the most attractive deal.
EDF’s English customer service helpline is 09 69 36 63 83.
It is no longer possible to return to Engie’s regulated gas tariffs, however, as these are set to disappear on July 1, 2023.
French energy firms to offer up to €120 discount to those who cut usage
What energy price rises can people in France expect for 2023