Challenging edf charges

i am wondering if some one can help
I have a small house in south of frnace .In last two years invoices have been ok 1200 pa (there is a small pool)
I was contacted by EDF in October to advise there was something wrong wiht the amount of electricty being used. To cut a long story short 5000euros in 6 is a very small house two bedroom and it is simply not possible to use such an amount. It is used for only approx 3 months of the year in total.

Their supplier of meters contacted my in April and I responded as they advised that there may be a problem with the meter.
I advised EDF of this . They finally send a technician on Monday or with a computer and he says there is no problem wiht the meter but it is genuinely just not possible to use such an amount. I am desperate to find an independant body or similar that I can go to to have everything checked and query further they have already altered by DD to 500 per month ! teh person I purchased the property form used 850 euros per annum and they lived there full time .
I am extremely anxious about this and would be grateful for advice as to whether an independant body exists to help with this or if there are other things EDF and the meter company can do as it is not me using the electricity
rather than forcing me to make payment when i know it is not correct.
thank you

My goodness this must be a worry. Have a look at your last facture. There is an extra piece of paper attached to ours which gives details about making “une reclamation ecrite”. In that section there is details of what to do and various addresses. You could also try

I hope you are able to resolve this. Best of luck.

If it’s gone through your meter, and the meter is functioning correctly, then it must have gone somewhere. Is it possible that someone else has accidentally connected to your supply? Has any work been done near / your side of your meter location?

Have you started with the basic checks, ie switch everything off in the house and outside for an hour or so, and check the meter to see if any electricity is used?

Thank you of rthe replies
yes significant work was done in the next door villa last year and it was somewhat diificult as he had undertaken work without a permit so the co proprty owners objected.
The meters are located outside the properties.Yes we switched off everything and to my local electrician it appeared the meter was still turining hence the need for a technician to visit
i operate the EDF through their web site

I wonder if your neighbour’s bill is remarkably low…

The first thing is don’t panic. Start by working out whether your bill could actually be that high - so what kVA supply do you have?

Eg ours is 12kVA (60A), we’re on tariff bleu so lets say 15cents per unit. We can use a max of 12 units per hour (approx) so 12x0.15 per hour = 1.8€ per hour, 302.4€ per week or 7864.4€ in 6 months.

So, if you are on 12kVA or 9kVA you could, just, have an electricity bill that high - if you have a 6kVA supply (and you did say it was a small house) it is indeed not possible to use 5000€ of electricity in 6 months so that might be a starting point for the conversation with EDF. If by 6 months you actually meant “a bit more than 6 months” then it might be useful to know that a 6kVA supply running flat out can burn through 5000€ in just over 7 1/2 months.

Next question is does your meter genuinely think your use is that high - this is easy to check if you have a modern meter with LCD screen and flashing amber LED. There are three things to look at

How fast is the little amber LED flashing? It does one flash for each Watt Hour, you’d need a continuous load of 7.6kW to get through that much 'leccy, for which the LED will be flashing twice per second, all the time. You can also look at the number of units which will be going up by about 7 units per hour or (by pushing the buttons next to the display) the current passing through the meter which will be about 33-35 Amps.

It’s possible the load is not totally constant - especially if you do have a higher kVA supply as it could max out for part of the day then drop back (a 12kVA supply would need to be maxed out for 15 hours a day even if usage were zero at other times).

If the meter is flashing madly all the time then the next thing is to check is whether it is accurate. This might need the help of an electrician. I’d try to get a clamp meter around the live lead either going into or immediately out of the meter and check that the current matches the reading on the meter.

Assuming the meter is accurate the next question is what is pulling the power - this might need some further detective work with the clamp meter and tracing circuits but I’d start with a list of electrical items, especially heating, ballon’s etc which might be sufficient on their own, if faulty, to explain the high use. You mentioned a pool - is it heated? If so how.

If you can’t get an electrician out (or want to try to fault find a bit yourself) start by going to your tableau de distribution and turning every switch off - there should be at least one main RCD and then a smaller breaker per circuit. The amber light should stop flashing and the current should drop to zero amps. If not you need to figure out if anything else is wired into the meter. Then switch the RCD’s on. The current should stay at zero, finally go through the circuits one at a time switching them on and noting the current (Amps) reading. That might show which circuit is drawing a lot of power. Remember that something like a water heater might want to switch on if the water has cooled a bit while you had the power off (if you are on a split tariff normally the water heater should only be on overnight so if pulling the lot of power durng the day that might be a problem).

As for independent body - a good local electrician should be able to check things out for you.

Bon courage!

Paul thank you for the very comprehensive reply
The meter is not digital but the old style.The other problem is when looking at the analysis of the years consumption on line it shows usuage in value of 860 euros in january, 757 in feb and 600 in March.
Again in Oct/Nov/Dec 2017 the figures are 272, 616 830 respctively but the property was not being used.!
in the summer months may-sept the consumption would be probably correct if air cond is factored in.
I can make no sense of it
In april Enedis who supplies the meter wrote saying they thought there was a problem and I respnded but they did nothing.Now EDF have sent a technician who says the meter is ok.I ahve spoken to both the Frecnch speaking and english dept but finding a more sebior person is difficult
is there a boady as we have ini the Uk if there are on going disputes.?
Once again thank you for your input.

It might be a good idea to check with your Insurers and Bank… to see if you are covered by…(Judicial something or another…I forget the name)…

If you do have said cover…it would give you access to an Expert who fights your corner in just such situations as you are experiencing…

got to be worth a try…

(and hang on to the ENEDIS letter and anything else in writing)

Hi Stella

I think the words Protection Juridique are what you are after :slight_smile:

Yep…that’s it…

Here is a link …

Hello Ellie

Here is a link that may help …

Looks like something happened in November.

With the old style meters you can still follow the steps I outlined above - you just need to count revolutions of the disk in the meter instead of LED flashes. there is variation as to how many watt hours one revolution represents - typically from 3-7 but it should be on the meter. You can still look at the change in reading on the dials over an hour to get an idea of the actual use.

Is the 860€ for Jan based on meter readings or estimates? It works out, as above, to be a continuous load of about 7.8kW which is high but quite possible if something like Air Con or pool heating has developed a fault so at this point I think that you would be better having an electrician check things over before trying to contest the bill.

Hi Ellie

You might be thinking of the mediation service so I’m attaching a link to it. They will consider the documentation you/EDF provide, form a conclusion and provide a written report. It’s free. It’s also advisory. I have literally just finished a year-long stint trying to argue against my water company and, as a warning, the basic decision was ‘There’s no way she could have used that volume of water but she’s responsible for the meter and that’s the consumption that was recorded so she’s liable’. Whole long story which I can give details of if required but here’s the link.

Stella/Anne thank you for that suggestion I will now be asking both my bank and insurers as a way forward.

How ofen should EDF legally read the meter ?as looking carefully at the invoices they are with asterix which suggests an estimate but they are demanding the money ,so they must have read it but I cannot get this confirmation. EDF say enedis who are responsible for the meter say it is ok and if I want further investigations I must pay 495 euros + tax.

advice on reading meter legal obligations etc would greatly assist
thank you

You are obviously convinced that the reading is in error - have you made some basic checks at the house to confirm this is the case?

Hello yes we have made checks all electrics have been turned off and the meter is moving/turning .
Also when the property is unoccupied all electrics are turned off whichh simply cannot explain how they think 600 euros of electricty is turning in the winter months when no one is there .

Is that the check you referede to earlier in the thread.

The old meters can “creep” when no load is applied, but you would have to have checked that when everything in your property is off there is actually no current going through the meter.

An electrician can do that if it is possible to get a clamp meter around one of the cables leading from the meter to the tableau - in fact if you are even moderately technically inclined (or have a family member or friend who is) you can buy a clamp meter yourself for a few quid - Screwfix do one for £27.99

PS, measuring current safe even if you don’t know much about electricity as no connection is needed - the clamp goes around the live cable without making a connection (you need to be able to get the jaws closed though).

However do not try to make any voltage measurements on the mains unless you know what you are doing.

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Thank you for the various suggestions all of which have been very useful.
EDF have checked the meter and all is working correctly.
The period of excessive use ( which EDF agrees is exceptional) coincides almost exactly with complete renovation work done at the the next door villa. EDF now suggest I need to file a porte plainte
at the local police office once this is filed I need to send them a copy and they will begin investigations. A s I understadn it normally what should occur if major renovation is being undertaken is the developer requests a meter to be used during the renovation period or advises the cmpany of the major works.

Does any one know what procedural path lodging a porte plante will take .