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Could second-home owners in France save with EDF’s Tempo contract?

A Tempo electricity contract could be an interesting option for people who do not spend much time in France during winter

The idea with EDF’s Tempo contract is that you save on ‘blue’ and ‘white’ days, but pay more on ’red’ days, thus encouraging you to use less electricity when the strain is greatest Pic: sylv1rob1 / Shutterstock

Reader question: We do not visit our second home often during winter. Should we consider taking out a Tempo electricity contract? 

EDF’s Tempo option offers cheaper electricity most of the year in return for paying more on certain winter days when the network is under strain, meaning they could be advantageous for many second-home owners. 

Read more: Tens of thousands in France sign up to EDF energy saving Tempo plan

Prices can be up to three times more expensive during the 22 ‘red’ days, as the idea is to encourage people to use less electricity and thus take some pressure off the network. 

These fall between November 1 and March 31, in particular during cold snaps. 

Weekends are never considered red days. 

There are 300 ‘blue’ days in the year, where electricity is 30% cheaper during peak hours, and 40% cheaper during off-peak hours than the usual regulated tariffs. 

There are also 43 ‘white’ days, where rates are 10% and 24% cheaper. 

However, you will only be notified of the colour category the day before, so if you do make trips in winter, you cannot plan them in advance to take prices into consideration. 

Tempo is also good for those who do not heat with electricity. 

Tempo is an option of the Tarif Bleu, a ‘regulated’ electricity offer, with prices under government control, and likely to be protective in times when the market is subject to pressures. If you are not already on it, you can switch to it if you wish. 

If you have a Linky meter, you could take out a ‘Zen Weekend’ contract, which offers 30% cheaper electricity on weekends and bank holidays. 

‘Zen Week-end Plus’ also includes a cheaper midweek day. This might be suitable if you work and are only able to make it to France for shorter trips. 

However, this is a ‘market rate’ tariff, so check terms and conditions.

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