Why did Enedis look so shocked yesterday?

Fair comment David… it is just that I cannot understand why/if the Company who installed the electrics did not ensure the supply would be sufficient. eg: If the demand warranted 3-phase… that is what should have been organized.

Around here, that is what they do…the Project Manager “Electrician” works hand-in-hand with EDF to ensure that the hassle Saul is experiencing… does NOT happen.

I think David hits the nail squarely on the head - the only thing that puzzles me at present is how Saul ever managed to pull 30kW.

However his comment regarding the old three-phase hob and the fact that he claims he could pull 30kW are making me wonder whether he actually has a 3-phase supply which was rated higher in the past and reduced on paper only to a 12kW agreement - but without changing the EDF fuses or breaker.

I don’t have one so can’t be sure but suspect that the Linky meter is not the cause of the breaker now tripping at 12kW - just that an old fuse based system has been replaced with a more modern disjoncteur differentiel - these still allow brief transients but are much better at tripping quickly in overload conditions than a fuse.

The old fuses could take quite a beating without blowing, as can the distribution fuses in the UK - after all you don’t want to have to send an engineer out every week to replace then **** thing when it blows, these days the consumer just flicks the switch back.

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Presumably because the property pre-dates electricity and started out with a supply that was really just intended for lighting and it has “evolved” from there.

It really does sound like Saul will have to bit the bullet and get things sorted properly.

The electricity would not have had to be signed off as any work was carried out after the fuseboard. The original supply was kept.

Our property dates back to before candles… but you may have hit the nail on the head… if Saul’s Electrician did not remove all the old stuff… that will/might cause problems (as well as not meeting the Norms … or is it gnomes?)

It will be interesting to see how this pans out… hope Saul did get the work signed-off by EDF or it could prove expensive. Just seen your comment David… Oh Dear !


Sorry David… I must have missed the bit where Saul said the old internal wiring was not replaced… oooh dear. Sounds just as well the thing trips… safer that way perhaps.:zipper_mouth_face:

There’s nothing to suggest that Saul’s wiring is unsafe, he just needs more electricity than his current contract allows.
I once watched a fascinating programme about living in deserts. It contrasted communities in north Africa and in Arizona. In the African towns they adapted their way of life to the conditions, in Arizona they allowed themselves to carry on with their normal life using technology. Everything from the way they kept their houses cool to the clothes they wore and the hours they kept was considered. In my house in extreme winter weather I follow the African model, I keep the minimum amount of space habitable during extreme conditions whereas Saul seems to follow the Arizona version, he his happy to turn up the heat throughout to maintain his chosen lifestyle. Most of the people around me do as I do, they need to economise whenever possible.


David you are absolutely right & I would probably do the same as your neighbors but the quandary is installing all these additional systems for the short time I spend there in the winter.

I will talk to electricians here about the 3 phase adjustments, hoping they will be minimal.

I would recommend that you have a look at petrole heaters that run on paraffin. They are a great way to heat your kitchen and living rooms quickly and reasonably economically and although they have an electric fan they uses very little electricity.

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OK after an hour & a half of teaching someone to count they are going to provide 36kw at 3 phase. The person on the phone wanted to just lift me to 15kw which would allow me to use the induction top at full tilt, kettle, boiler with a few lights. I finally got him to see what was needed & they are sending a technician in 2 weeks (emergency call out in France !),

What should be interesting to everyone is that he confirmed that David is right that the new meters regulate to exactly your contract allowance. I am on 12kw & if I spike to 12.1kw the breaker will now trip which never happened before. I think most people are not aware of the spikes that potentially occur & this can cause some real inconvenience.

You can increase single phase to 18KW max but this required a replacement of the wire (which I have been telling them for years) & takes just as long as the 3 phase installation.

I am sure I will be heavily charged for the refit but the standing charge increase for 36kw is just 10 euros more a month than I currently pay. He did say I had to put my boiler on a night time meter which sounds like a problem if there is a full house.

Again David you are right about your Africa & Arizona example, setting aside the moral question of electric consumption, lifestyles are just very different. My wife often comments as we drive through these beautiful ghost town villages fitted with Napoleonic air conditioning (my wife’s term for windows) where the only sign of life is one light bulb & phosphorous glow of a small tv. The modern buildings are also much more energy efficient.
Your comment made me remember in winter when I was at university (in NY) I would fly home to South Florida & one of my friends would turn his air conditioning to the maximum so he could light fires in his house to remind him of Chicago - on hindsight this is a very bad choice but a far cry from me wanting a cup of tea & cooked meal but again lifestyles & expectation are very different though not necessarily better.

I do not believe our internal cabling is dangerous (some of our internal cables are thicker than EDFs street wire), it is I believe just a matter of having too little gin in the tonic.

i will keep you all updated on the progress (or lack of). Again thank you for your thoughts & help.

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Good suggestion but sounds a little dangerous.
Lighter fluid is band in the house by wife since I caught myself & the dog on fire 2 Christmas’s ago lighting one of the wood burners. The dog was fine though my sweater & hair were casualties but strangely the dog got all of the attention.
I will consider it but I will have to tell my wife it runs on Unicorn’s breath.

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Not at all dangerous, they use some sort of catalytic converter rather than having a naked flame. They provide instant warmth.

I’m often right. It’s just that other people rarely believe me. :slight_smile:
Napoleonic or not thecool interior of a stone house on a hot summer’s day is so much nicer than air conditioning. My windows stay firmly closed when it’s hot outside.

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Hi Saul… it has just occurred to me… in this modern age… surely you can get a link (not a meter) via your computer…to switch electric radiators on etc… before you visit… thus give the place a chance to warm up…

You don’t have to just have it on overnight.

The meter will generate a signal for the low tariff hours - you can then choose whether to automatically supply power to the boiler during those hours (in which case you should be able to manually override during the day if you want the boiler on) or ignore it completely and run the boiler as you have been.

Looking at pictures they have not integrated the disjoncteur with the meter so the meter itself is not responsible for disconnecting the supply in over current situations - however as noted above a disjoncteur will trip where a fuse wouldn’t which might be why everyone is getting in a tizz about this.

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We have a 15Kva supply and are totally electric for everything and have no problems.

Hello Maureen,

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.

Hi Saul…

It would seem that my area is safer than some others… since I know of a number of properties where EDF has actually refused to connect the supply until the installations were checked and signed-off by a French Electrician. I am talking about complete rewiring of renovation projects…

I have been contacted by a Brit in my commune… who is having problems with a recently installed Linky… sounds similar to yours and I have told her what Enedis said to you about “exceeding”. She tells me that it flips even when there is virtually no pull on the power… :zipper_mouth_face:

Her Builder/project manager and EDF are at a loss to know what is going wrong… They have confirmed that the KWatt supply (or whatever) for the property is correct. (it’s been working perfectly for 2 years !) I’ve suggested she keep a log to possibly help us identify what is happening.

It will be interesting to see how the Linky situations pan out.

Hi Stella,

Your fellow Brit in your commune seems to have a strange problem if she is not pulling much power. I know the Linksys box will show you your current draw but I wonder whether whether it has the capacity to show the historical draw just before the interrupter switched to see if there was a spike.

The reply from EDF & local project manager claiming they are at a loss is not a surprise, conveniently leaving the fairy’s to blame. I have spent years trying to explain to EDF there is an issue, with them strongly arguing against the evidence. I would suggest this lady bring in an independent electrician because people rarely find fault with their own work (EDF & the project manager).
It is a shame that I am not the only one left unable to boil a kettle while keeping the house warm.

Thank you for the heads up about the challenges around EDF, I am organizing an electrician to meet next week to check everything logically will be acceptable by EDF (I can’t see why not). I remember many years ago working in Mexico & the local state troika closed down a state of the art American owned factory because it was painted a colour that was deemed dangerous to the workers - the dangerous colour inside the factory was white ! Mexican white factories were deemed safe of course.

Lets see what happens - hoping for the best but preparing for the worst !

At the time did you have a fuse on the EDF side or a breaker?

You do realise that a 3-phase RCD is not the same as 3 single phase RCDs?

Different situations means different cable ratings. 10mm2 PVC in conduit is rated at about 46A before any ambient temperature derating.

By the way do you have a 32A or 40A breaker on the hob circuit and is it just the hob or anything else which is connected to that breaker?

Depends on the current wiring. Do you have one big fuse panel for everything or multiple panels for different parts of the house given that it is a large property?

The oven and hob will almost certainly need the jumpers changing for three phase operation and the cabling changing to three phase. The rest should be manageable by distributing existing circuits amongst the phases.

Well, as has been mentioned they won’t connect you up if they don’t think the house wiring is up to standard but that is true of electricity suppliers the whole world over.

In the UK there is a framework known (loosely) as the “Part P” regulations which means that permission to carry out electrical work beyond relatively simple stuff has to be granted by the local planning authority, so there should be less ambitious but incompetent DIY work done (and perhaps the reason some DIY chains don’t carry much beyond simple stuff). That said the larger semi-professional DIY chains (eg B&Q) carry pretty much everything you’d need to re-wire a house.