Claim back power bill tax

As we report in the new edition it may be possible to reclaim a tax paid along with power bills - here is how to do it

AS WE report in May’s Connexion, lawyers are advising that electricity users have the right to make a request for repayment of a tax that makes up part of electricity bills, back-dated for two years.

The Contribution au service public de l’électricité (CSPE) can make up to 10% of a typical bill.

However the basis on which the tax is calculated has been declared illegal by the European Court of Justice, meaning that, in theory, users – whether individuals or firms – can apply to have tax that they have paid over the last two years (24 months) before applying refunded. For example if you apply for a refund on May 1, 2014 you cannot claim a refund for tax paid before May 1, 2012. The typical family using electric heating could, therefore, be due a refund of several hundred euros.

This should include VAT (TVA), which is at 20% for bills for this year and was previously at 19.6% (note that if you had a bill that was payable in January this year it may still have been at the 19.6% rate - check it).

The outcome in France of such a request is not yet certain, and is expected to depend partly on a decision of the French Conseil d’Etat, which has yet to rule. However lawyers say that the letter of EU law means refunds are due and they urge applications are made as soon as possible before the Conseil potentially tries to impose more restrictive conditions on claims.

Applications should be made by lettre recommandée avec avis de réception (LRAR) – recorded delivery with reception slip – including copies of your previous bills as proof of tax paid, for the last 24 months. It is advisable to keep a copy of your letter and the documents sent.

If you have not kept the paper bills you may be able to recuperate them online via your personal space on your supplier’s website. The bills should itemise the amounts of CSPE paid.

We suggest the following wording is used:


Suite à l’arrêt de la Cour de Justice de l’Union Européenne daté du 19 décembre, 2013 (affaire C-262/12) concernant la Contribution au service public de l’électricité, je réclame par la présente un remboursement des sommes relatives à la CSPE figurant sur mes factures d’électricité et payées par moi-même au cours des 24 derniers mois précédant l'envoi de cette lettre (€ INSERT THE AMOUNT).

Je joins à cette lettre des exemplaires de mes factures.

Dans l’attente de votre réponse, veuillez agréer, Monsieur, mes sincères salutations,


Business lawyers Lamy-Lexel, who are helping some of their large business clients reclaim tax, told Connexion that letters should be sent to the following address:

Monsieur le Président
Commission de Régulation de l’Energie
15 rue Pasquier
75379 PARIS Cedex 08

The May edition of Connexion will be on sale in newsagents and stores across France from tomorrow.

Photo: Mark Dietrich -