Our peak usage is significantly more that 15kw. So there are 2 reasons possibly why this works for you - first you may not be drawing more than 15kw which seems normal in France. Second you may have a breaker from EDF that does not trip at 15kw, if this is the case you can draw as much power off the street wire as your breaker or fuse will allow, even though EDF technically allocates you 15 kw. I would assume your situation is probably the first rather than the latter. It is interesting to know whether your street supply is on a 10mm cable of 6mm cable from EDF who claim anything more than 12kw requires a cable thicker than 6mm, which is a (dangerous & not funny) joke if it is unregulated & someone like me can pull 25 - 30kw though the cable.
I have already been organizing the 3 phase upgrade & fortunately we have 3 RCDs already in place on the fuse panel that was in installed. Also with large draw appliances we installed 10mm cable which is significantly greater that the 6mm cable EDF runs from the street. I think the 3 phase balancing should hopefully be quite straight forward for the electrician, my only fear is the bureaucracy & delay of EDF but maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.
As an aside I was speaking to a friend who is a developer & his brother moved to Spain recently & bought a house without looking at the electrical supply. The brother by chance is an electrician & upon moving in found that the who house had just 4 plug outlets with a total maximum supply to the house of 3 kw. to put this in context a modern fast boil kettle needs 3 kw. Upon further inspection he found the house was wired throughout with door bell wire.
France does seem to have a lot of DIY’ers with more enthusiasm than competence. I would always leave the electrical to the professionals & some of continental friends seem to be very good at making rules for everyone else but very poor at following them. David’s comment earlier that in France you do not need sign off or an inspection on internal wiring makes perfect sense looking at some of the amateur (dangerous) wiring I have seen.
Every house we buy we invariably have all of the wiring & plumbing stripped out & replaced professionally. Interestingly in this house in St Emilion we had all of the wiring replaced until EDF’s box & voila the problem was before the box about which we informed EDF 4 years ago. Also we replaced all the water piping from the mains up until the outer wall of the house & voila last year we had a major leak just outside of the house because of the previous owner had made some mickey mouse connection that my grandmother would have been smart enough not to do. The mistake I stupidly made was not having all of the water pipes replaced up until the street connection rather than just stopping at the mains entry at the external wall. I will not make that mistake again.
I would say one oddity I find in France that I never really see in London, is at the local Home Depot equivalent the amount of serious electrical equipment sold next to the decorative paint aisle. It appears if you can hold a paint brush you are by default also an electrician & plumber. It does seem odd watching elderly ladies buying these fuse panels & wiring with less regard than they would when buying hair dye. I would always let a professional electrician purchase & install this equipment but at my last visit with an electrician these ladies are there asking the ‘home depot’ guy for advice on what to buy & how to install to rewire their houses.
I will end by saying there are some very good builders & electricians in France but they do seem vastly outnumbered by the weekend DIY’ers few of which I would guess are competant.
Have a nice weekend & I will update everyone on my experience with EDF.