18 changes for residents and property owners in France - January 2023

From energy bill help to a ban on single-use packaging in fast-food restaurants, we look at the changes that have come into place this month

A split image of a home renovation, four people sharing a lift in a car, a Navigo pass and transport ticket machine and the La Poste logo
We look at the changes coming into effect this month - January 2023
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A new year has begun, bringing changes across several fields, from pay to pensions to eco-friendly measures on food packaging.

We look at some of the new things to note.

Fuel payment for lower-income workers

The government’s 10-cent-per-litre fuel discount came to an end on January 1, and is being replaced by a more targeted payment to lower-income people who need their vehicle to go to work.

Some 10 million workers will receive a cheque for €100 on application

Read more: Fuel aid France: Around 10 million workers to get extra €100

To register your need for the cheque, you must log in to the usual government income tax website and follow the instructions to sign up. Applications can be made from January 16, 2023 and end February 28, 2023.

You will need:

  • Your tax number
  • Your car licence plate number
  • To declare ‘on your honour’ that you need your vehicle for work / commute

The aid will be available to those who fall within the first five tax bands in France, so the bottom half of households measured by income.

You will not be required to prove minimum kilometrage or journey times. Drivers of both four-wheeled and two-wheeled vehicles can apply.

If there are two adults in one household who need their vehicle for work, they can both apply and may be eligible for €200 in aid.

Energy price cap increased to 15%

Regulated gas and electricity tariffs were capped throughout 2022 by a government shield, known as the bouclier tarifaire price cap.

Under this regulated gas prices were frozen and regulated electricity tariffs capped at a 4% rise in autumn 2021.

France’s regulated energy tariffs (tarifs réglementés) are fixed by the state. They are offered only by traditional providers such as EDF or Engie.

At the end of last year, there were 2.8 million households on the regulated gas tariff – 26.5% of all the households with gas-heating – and 23 million on the regulated electricity tariff.

Alternative suppliers can index their rates on the regulated tariff or offer contracts based on wider market prices.

The government has announced that it will continue applying a price cap in 2023 but that it will rise from the current 4% to 15%.

This will apply to regulated gas prices in January and regulated electricity prices in February.

The end of the timbre rouge

The traditional ‘timbre rouge’ (red stamp) urgent priority mail stamp has been replaced with a hybrid scan-and-print system.

This is how it works:

  • Instead of using a timbre rouge to send an urgent letter, people will need to buy the e-Lettre service online on the La Poste website at €1.49 per letter
  • They will then need to scan the letter to digitise it
  • The contents of the letter will then be printed and put in an envelope at the closest post office to the final destination, to speed up delivery.

The eight million people in France who do not yet have internet at home – or cannot use it – will be able to go to a La Poste office directly with their paper letter and have it scanned there.

Anyone who cannot get to the post office – because of a disability, for example – will be able to order a collection directly from their home.

Read more: France’s new digital timbre rouge: Will my letter be seen by staff?

Households without Linky meters pay €50 extra

Not having a Linky smart meter in your home in France could now cost you up to €50 more in energy bills per year, a new rule states.

If you have refused to install a Linky smart electricity meter in your home, and if you have not sent an update of your meter reading for at least a year, you will have to pay extra to cover the service.

The charge will be €8.48 every two months which equates to €50.88 per year. Up to 3.8 million people could be affected.

However, if you do not have a Linky meter but you send Enedis your energy readings at least once a year, you will still benefit from a free service until December 2024. This means you do not have to pay extra.

If, from January 2025, you still do not have a Linky meter, you will not benefit from the free service, even if you send meter readings. The only exception is if Enedis cannot install a Linky meter for technical reasons.

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

No more marketing calls from 06 and 07 numbers

French phone numbers beginning with 06 and 07 must now be reserved for personal use, so that people are not caught off guard by an unsolicited commercial call.

Some cold calling firms currently use an 06 number, but the French telecommunications regulator Arcep has taken this decision to “reinforce the protection” of users against “fraud and abuse”.

“Amid concerns over transparency for clients, the Authority is reserving the use of 06 and 07 mobile numbers [...] exclusively to interpersonal communication services.

“It is associating this type of number with the obligatory provision of at least a vocal call and message service by operators.”

“Non-interpersonal” usages of mobile numbers, such as business calls, should come under a different number, like 09.

Read more: French 06 and 07 numbers to be reserved for interpersonal calls

€100 for new car-sharers

France’s government is to give a €100 bonus to people who begin car-sharing from this month.

The money will be available to people who sign up to a car-sharing platform for the first time in 2023, and will be paid in two instalments: €25 at first and then a further €75 once they complete 10 journeys in the three months after their first.

The money will be paid by the car-sharing platforms themselves, with the funds coming from the state.

Read more: Drivers to be given up to €100 to start car sharing in France

The end of throwaway fast-food packaging in restaurants

France now requires a range of fast-food restaurants to employ reusable cutlery and plates for customers eating in.

Single-use packaging such as plastic and paper will still be allowed for take-out orders, but not for use inside the restaurant.

Financial support for buying e-bikes extended

In order to encourage people to buy and use electric bikes and cargo bikes, the government will continue to offer financial incentives for such purchases in 2023.

The income threshold for eligibility has also been increased to include 50% of households. People will now qualify if they have a revenu fiscal de référence taxable income of up to €14,089, previously €13,489.

You can find out more about the grants available on this government website.

Changes to electric vehicle grants

The bonus écologique grant available for new electric car purchases will be reduced to €5,000 for higher-income households and increased to €7,000 for households with a revenu fiscal de référence of €14,089 or less.

These sums only apply to vehicles costing less than €47,000.

The grants will be €6,000 and €8,000 respectively for vans.

Cost of monthly Navigo increases to €84.10

The cost of a monthly Navigo pass for Paris public transport has risen from €75.20 to €84.10

The price of a single ticket has also risen to €2.30 from €1.90.

However the weekly Navigo pass has seen the biggest price increase at 31.6%. The cost has risen from €22.80 to €30. A booklet of 10 single tickets is now €19.10 from €16.90, and yearly school pupil and student season tickets are €365, previously €342.

Read more: Paris Navigo public transport monthly pass to rise by 12% in 2023

Low emission zones

Several French low emission zones (zones à faibles émissions or ZFEs) are to be reinforced or altered this year.

In Montpellier, smaller vehicles with a Crit’Air 5 sticker and vans and lorries with a Crit’Air 4 sticker will be concerned by the driving restrictions in place.

The same rules will be applied in Nice, while in Reims, vehicles with a Crit’Air 4 rating will be affected.

In Strasbourg, it will be Crit’Air 5-rated vehicles that are concerned.

The price of a Crit’Air sticker will also increase from €3.70 to €3.72.

Read more: A guide to Crit’Air stickers in France

Read more: Car pollution sticker fraud rising in France: avoid getting caught out

New rules on informing new buyers or tenants about a property

It is now mandatory to inform prospective buyers or tenants about the risks associated with the property on their first visit, and not as the sale or rental contract is finalised.

The list of risks will now also include information on receding coastlines and how they may affect the house or flat.

Sellers or landlords will also be required to provide an information document on soil pollution at the property site.

Stricter rules on carbon neutrality claims

From this year, it is now banned to claim in an advertisement that a product or service is carbon neutral without adding details of the associated carbon footprint and the offsetting measures taken as a result.

Device part recycling in shops

Since January 1, people in France have technically been able to take old or broken toys, sports equipment, DIY and gardening products back to the shop where they bought them.

The government has said that special collection bins will be put in place in these shops so that the products can be repaired or reconditioned and given a new life.

However, shopkeepers have said that they were not prepared for this measure, La Presse de la Manche reports, and the full details of how the recycling will work have not yet been revealed.

Evolution of decent housing criteria

France’s Loi climat et résilience includes a section regarding the criteria needing to be fulfilled for accommodation to be classed as ‘decent’.

In 2023, a property will only be classed as decent in terms of energy usage if it uses less than 450 kWh/m2 per year.

Properties using more than this can no longer be put on the long-term rental market.

MonAccompagnateurRénov’ scheme begins

The MaPrimeRénov grant to improve the energy efficiency of homes will continue this year with an enlarged budget.

The scheme, launched in 2020 to combine all the help to renovate houses to reduce energy consumption in one place, will see its budget rise from €2billion to €2.5billion.

Another change is that, from September 2023, anyone applying for grants of more than €10,000 will have to sign up with a Mon Accompagnateur Rénov professional.

This has applied to people receiving the MaPrimeRénov’ sérénité grant since January 1.

Read more: Grant to renovate French homes is extended with a bigger budget

Minimum wage up 1.81%

France’s Salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance (Smic) minimum wage is rising by 1.81%.

This wage is based on inflation, and can rise several times in one year.

The 1.81% rise will mean that people receiving the Smic earn an extra €24 per month.

Basic pensions increased

France’s pension de retraite de base basic pension has increased by 0.8%.

This affects people on the Cnav, CRNACL, SRE and CNAVPL pension schemes.

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