Very Expensive Electric Bills

I pay me electric bill monthly by direct debit over a 10 month period. The amount was set by EDF

in January at 123.13 euros. In June this was reduced to 92.13 euros for three months only, it was then increased to 166.13 euros per month. Yesterday in the post I received yet another adjustment to the tariff which has now been set at 200 euros!!!!!!!!!!

I live in a 3 bedroom property. Have no storage heating, have a hot water tank which is set on a tariff where I have cheap rate between 12.00 and 14h 30 and again at 1h 30 until 07h 30.

We have normal household appliances, a swiming pool pump which is only used 4 months of the year.

I cannot understand why there appears to be such an increase, especially in the summer.

has anyone experienced similar problems and if so can they suggestt how I approach EDF. My french speaking is not the best on the telephone.

I am very anxious about this situation as it just makes no sense to me.

2000 euros a year just seems an extortionate amount of money and is basically not affordable.

thankyou for your interset x

Hmm.. just clocked the date.. methinks the story has run a bit long in the tooth now?

Quick heads up guys - Louise's original post is dated October 2012. Prices, and her situation, may have changed since then.....just sayin...:-)

Hi, is this your first billing from EDF?.. you say you only have normal consumer units, what Kva are you subscribed to.. normal rating would be around 9 or 12Kva.. if you have recently bought the house, maybe the original owners were subscribed to higher tarrifs, which are quite a bit more per month. a friend of mine is on Tempo and was on 36Kva, without any high rated consumer appliances.. 36Kva was costing him 42+€p/m in subscription cost alone.. EDF have dropped his rating to 9Kva at something like 121€p/a.. look at you bills to see what you are rated at, and your total Kwh consumption per year.. hope it gives an idea where to start looking for the real costs.

I'm pleased you wrote that Robert, as our experience has been similar (for 15 years in three different properties). Our meter is read twice a year - January and July, and the adjustments, if any, are usually made after the January reading, and any remboursement is paid in to our account or knocked off future payments. We check the meter readings against statements, so would know immediately if there were any problems.

Maybe Louise has had estimated bills, as in our experience with other large organisations (RSI..grr..being one that springs to mind), they send a huge demand if something's amiss to rattle your cage, so you have to get in touch.

IMHO tumble driers are really expensive to run....I just hang washing over the drying rack in the boot room :-) and linens gets hung over the mezzanine rails, or a door. It all dries quickly with the wood stoves going in the evenings.

I can only speak as I find obviously. I have had no problems with my prelevement arrangements. They go up and down but every year about 2 weeks after the meter is read I normally get a 'remboursement' directly into my account. Typically, 150 euros. Works a treat. They have both increased and decreased the monthly amounts according to my actual usage.

It's a big advantage when, as I have, the meter is easily accessible. I can read it whenever I like and make comparisons etc etc. I know what my bill will be before it arrives within a little.

Good luck....

A friend of mine had this problem with her holiday home, where she only spends around six weeks per year. EDF estimated her monthly payment should be 30 euros per month and after a few years she had massively overpaid. I went with her to our local EDF office when they told her to increase it to 40 per month. She doesn't speak French so I asked, for her, why it had gone up. The woman replied it was because the price of electricity had risen! To cut a long story short, we insisted that they look at her account again and she was over 1800 Euros in credit. They asked how much she wanted to pay and 15 euros was agreed on. Within a couple of weeks she received a refund of her overpayment

I dropped in a post snatched from the Guardian about EDF putting up charges in the UK at four times the rate of inflation. This is where this company comes from and tells us only that it has a stranglehold that many of us cannot get out of.

It has only been partly privatised, so the government with a large stake in the 'company' would have every right to regulate, inspect and generally keep a rein on them, not just here in France but wherever they are trading. However, the catch is that they are also filling the coffers of the French government so little chance. They are now the biggest electricity generator in the UK as well as France and their tentacles are reaching out to major control of supplies in other countries. Thus, whereas some people might say that Germany is now ruling Europe, by the same token it may be possible to say that the exception there is that energy is slowly but surely in the hands of France.

Incidentally, of the just over 150,000 employees worldwide, more than 105,000 are here in France. How come we cannot get in touch with just one of them about the two road lights knocked out by the recent winds. Or would we be cutting into their profits too much?

hi louise, the meters have multi functions to their buttons. as well as displaying hp & hc, they display total comsumption. i can't remember the full sequence, but keep prssing the button and various function will display. i think fourth press displays a total of power that's gone through the meter. i think you have to press another button which clears this to zero. if you wait some seconds, the display will start to increment. i use the stop watch function of my mobile phone to time from the pressing to zero and the first unit registered. ie.. 1 unit/10 seconds + 6 for a minute x 60 for the hour 360w/h

you cannot damage the meter, or change any settings of edf.. they're all locked by sealed access ports

the following list is borrowed from another source but i think it's pretty accurate, i hope it helps you monitor the real time consumption of your system.. don't forget; wall wart phone chargers, oven clocks and other little gizmo's will draw over you will have to unplug everything for a zero consumption,.

Press Once – 1 = Kwh Meter reading for normal supply in Kilowatt Hours – This figures should be a little more than the reading on your last bill
Again – 1 = 000000 Kwh Meter reading for off peak in Kilowatt Hours ditto
Again – 2 = Base ? Base or Hours Temps (Normal or Off Peak)
Again - 3 = Kva Maximum power in amps and Kva (almost Watts) first figures should equal to the figure shown on EDF disjointer and your bill
Again – 4 = amps Amount of power being used by the house at that moment
Again – 5 = amps – maximum power you have ever used.
Again – 6 = ( When you press defilement) The full number of the electricity meter – The last three digits of which appear on your electricity bill ?
Again – 7 = -- Peak Hours ?
Again – 8 = watt hours -Consumption in Watts hours since defilement is pressed
Again – 9 = Complex screen - Only used when operation ‘Tempo’ is set up ?

it took me a few minute of pressing the buttons and it all fell into place. i hope it helps

hi bob. sorry to appear stupid but how do I do that. ? I have a digital meter which shows plein reading and creuse reading. it is 45 amp and 9kw.

thankyou for your help and patience ;))

use the real time consumption function of the meter to determine which if any appliances are drawing excessive powe?

I may have misunderstood or strayed from the point a bit myself but my advice is meant to be general for more than just the OP. So many people are having troubles with unexpectedly large EDF bills these days that we all need to be vigilant. Some people simply cannot lay hands on large amounts of money out of the blue.

Only Doreen and Heather seem to have seen the light and set up the "Service Relevé Confiance". With this system you wrench control of your expenditure back from the grasping claws of EDF. You pay for what you use, not for what they estimate you will use. With their estimated system you always end up paying over the odds until they get around to readjusting the payment level after an actual meter reading, once or if you are lucky, twice a year. Meanwhile, your money sits in their account when it would be better in yours perhaps making a little interest. By opting out of their prelevement stranglehold you are in a much better position in the event of a dispute. I have heard so many horror stories of huge amounts being taken without consent from people's bank accounts and kept for many months while the customer fought the battle to prove there had been an error! A good suggestion mentioned above is to keep a weekly (or even daily) record of consumption to try to ascertain what pattern of usage could be causing a problem. Sometimes an appliance goes wrong and the fault is not noticed, or there have been cases of neighbours tapping in to someone's supply and abusing it. Don't automatically ring up EDF and demand they test the meter either. If they do test the meter and find it is not faulty they can charge you anything up to €140 for their trouble!

Hi Andre. I have a digital meter reading which appears to be accurate. I have no form of electric heating at all. I have a large fridge freezer and one additional fridge. 2 tvs, a microwave an electric oven, a pool which uses a pump from june till september. my son plays on a playstation 3. Oh also a tumble dryer which is used for 4 months of the year.

I have contacted the English help line and cant get through and have now emailed and nobody has replied so far.

My next port of call is to speak to a french friend and ask them to speak to them on my behalf.

I am very frustrated by the whole situation.

thankyou for your comments

thankyou Clare

Great advice Heather. I am going to do exactly that.

Hi Jayne. thankyou for your comment. I don't actually use electricity to heat my home so this sudden influx in expense makes no sense to me. I have 2 wood burners and use paraffin heaters. My summer kw use is as much as my winter kw usage!!!! I use a tumble dryer in the winter months. I have always used it though so the sudden increase seems crazy .

Very pleased to read your note, Robert. We arrived here in late June, are living in a tiny apartment, and are on the 60 euros per month rate. I questioned whether we would ever use that much and the woman on the English speaking call line assured me that it would be adjusted after 6 months when they did an actual meter reading.

I had almost the exact same scenario play out, and I also have a 3 br house. I just wrote it off to the normal gouging that I have come to expect. Thanks to the EDF english language telephone number and email links posted in this thread, I am motivated to investigate. Over the past 8 years in this house I have averaged around Euro 170 x 10 payments. I was pleasantly surprised to receive the reduction notice several months ago... only to be shocked at the uprate which followed a few months later. It looks like someone at EDF made an error in the original discount we seem to have all received. Perhaps they are not too keen on the operation of the new "smart meters" they installed a couple of years ago.

I've been paying around the same amount every time the bill arrives (approx 180) for as long as I can remember; & to be truthful I've never paid that much attention....but at the beginning of the year I received "adjustments" which amounted to nearly 800 euros.

There's only the dog & I (& he doesn't watch that much telly, or leave the pc on all day), I've no pool, I work every day so am seldom here during daylight hours, I re-heat my meals in the microwave (no cooking), so where does all this extra come from?! So far, no explanation from fact, their only response to my query was that I'd be cut off if I didn't pay.

I speak French well enough to be able to make myself well understood as I've been here 10 years...but then telling a cretin what you think of them & their employers is no guarantee of a solution.