How compensation for electricity power cuts works in France

Power cut payments are calculated per five-hour outage

A view of an electricity bill in France
If you are eligible for compensation, it should be credited automatically and appear as a line item on your next bill
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Did you know that you may be entitled to compensation if you suffer a power cut in France? Most recently those who had their power cut off due to Storms Ciaran and Domingos may be eligible.

The storms both hit France earlier this month (November 2023), causing significant power outages.

Read also: Over 240 communes in north France placed on natural disaster list

A decision issued by the energy regulation commission, la Commission de régulation de l'énergie (CRE), on January 21, 2021 outlines how homeowners may receive financial compensation if they suffer significant power cuts.

The full decision report can be downloaded from the official government website here, in French.

What are the conditions for power cut compensation?

The CRE decision states that compensation is due for:

  • Any supply interruption lasting more than five hours
  • Where the fault is caused by the distribution network, including during exceptional events
  • Where less than 20% of all end consumers supplied were affected

Those affected by the disruption caused by Storms Ciaran and Domingos are eligible for compensation under these terms.

Read more: SEE: Dramatic scenes of storm Ciaran battering north-west France

How is the compensation calculated?

Compensation is calculated according to the following:

  • €2 (excluding VAT) per kilovolt ampere (kVA) of power subscribed for each five-hour period of outage, if this power is less than or equal to 36 kVA
  • €3.50 (excluding VAT) per kVA of power subscribed per five-hour period of outage, if this power is greater than 36 kVA.

Compensation is capped at 40 consecutive five-hour periods, which is the equivalent of 8.3 days or eight days and eight hours of power outage.

As an example, the Service Public government website outlines: “A household with a 12 kVA subscription (the recommended power for a 100 sqm house on all-electricity) will be entitled to compensation of €24 per [five-hour] outage.”

How do I receive the compensation?

The Service Public website states that you do not need to do anything to receive the compensation.

The distribution network operator - which is, in most cases, Enedis - will pay your supplier the required amount of the penalty.

This sum is then credited to your account, and your next bill reduced accordingly.

If you believe that you are entitled to compensation, check your next bill amount, and contact your supplier if in doubt.

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