Electricity in your French house
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If you own a house in France or if you are thinking of buying one, an understanding of the French domestic electrical rules and regulations is invaluable.

Whether you wish to reassure yourself that the electrical system has been installed correctly, extend an existing system, or if you are considering a total renovation project, this practical guide explains in English the methods and materials used in a typical French domestic electrical installation. Also included are details about domestic communications regulations covering TV, telephone and internet systems.

Throughout this indispensable guide, technical terms are included in the text in both English and French. In addition, the technical glossaries will help you to become familiar with these terms and will enable you to identify and purchase the materials required.

  • Suppliers, tariffs and charges

  • EDF metering and main switchgear

  • Earthing

  • The consumer unit

  • Circuits

  • Cabling Systems

  • Installation conventions

  • Sockets and lights

  • Bathrooms

  • The GTL

  • The schematic diagram

  • Television and the IT Network

  • Inspections

  • Appendix 1 - EDF Telephone Numbers for English Speaking Helplines

  • Appendix 2 - Glossaires



Publié par
Date de parution 07 juillet 2011
Nombre de lectures 135
EAN13 9782212414523
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0550€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Electricity in your French house
Rules and techniques explained in English
Collaboration ditoriale : Marian Green
Conception graphique et mise en pages : STDI
N diteur : 8150
D p t l gal : ao t 2010
Groupe Eyrolles, 2010
ditions Eyrolles
61, bd Saint-Germain
75240 Paris Cedex 05
ISBN : 978-2-212-12712-6
Tous droits r serv s
To Josephine for all her help and patience.
1 Introduction
2 Suppliers, tariffs and charges
3 EDF metering and main switchgear
4 Earthing
5 The consumer unit
6 Circuits
7 Cabling systems
8 Installation conventions
9 Sockets and lights
10 Bathrooms
11 The GTL
12 The schematic diagram
13 Television and the domestic IT network
14 Inspections
Appendix 1 - EDF Telephone Numbers for English Speaking Helplines
Appendix 2 - Glossaries
1 Introduction
Electrical systems installed in domestic premises in France vary considerably from those used in the UK. Whilst all appliances would work satisfactorily in either country, few of the materials and equipment used in the construction of UK electrical systems are acceptable in France.
Despite these differences, understanding and installing a French system is well within the capacity of anyone who is competent in the installation of UK systems.
This guide starts with the electricity supply from EDF and continues step by step through the requirements of a typical installation. The materials and equipment required are described in detail with photographs and illustrations showing their use.
Where appropriate, the guide provides an insight into the differences between the UK and French systems and highlights the reasons behind these differences. Common misunderstandings are clarified and practices that are unacceptable in France but acceptable in the UK, and vice versa, are explained.
There is always a tendency to think that what we are used to is better, but the French standards are in fact very high and the approach should be one of understanding and meeting the French requirements.
Common equipment standards
Fortunately, thanks to the European Union there are some common equipment standards, such as cables and equipment carrying the CE mark. The CE mark is a construction standard for equipment.
The French national standard for equipment and installations, which also includes equipment performance, is the NF classification. This has a function equivalent to that of the BS Kitemark in the UK. In particular, the regulations relating to domestic electrical installations in France are known as NF C 15-100. The Norme, as it is known, has broadly the same function and legal standing in France as do the IEE 17 regulations in the UK.
Codes of practice
To complement the regulations in the UK, various codes of practice are published relating to specific aspects of installations. The same thing happens in France, where the source of similar information is the UTE (Union Technique de l Electricit ). One UTE publication in particular is referred to in the following pages. This is UTE C90-483, which deals with IT networks in domestic properties.
2 Suppliers, tariffs and charges
If you want electricity supplied to a new installation, you will need to request your electricity company to provide the connection. EDF manages over 95% of the electricity network in France and will provide a connection to a property upon request.
You can choose to purchase your electricity from EDF or from one of the various alternative suppliers who offer a range of competitive schemes.
( Note
The French state controls the tariffs of EDF and keeps them somewhat below market level. The European Union has noted this and is insisting that they be deregulated during the course of 2010.

The normal way to select (or change) a supplier is to visit a comparison website by searching under changement de fournisseur d lectricit and to choose from those listed. At the time of writing, all such sites are in French, but useful information can be found on: www.french-property.com/guides/france/utilities/electricity/ .
Having selected your supplier, fill in the on-line form to start the contract process.
Alternatively, if you wish to change supplier, enter your electricity consumption and post code details into the form. This will trigger the various suppliers offers for you to compare.
Changing your supplier should be relatively seamless with the new supplier managing the changeover arrangements with the original company. Subject to contractual requirements, there are no restrictions on how many times or how often you change supplier, but there might be some restrictions regarding reverting to your original supplier (for example, you need a period of six months before going back to EDF).
The different suppliers also list the percentage of green electricity included in their offers.
If you prefer a turnkey solution, it is possible to start off by choosing an electricity supplier and then to request them to make contact with EDF for the connection. The chosen supplier liaises with EDF for the work and manages the whole process.
Tables 1 and 2 provide the current EDF tariffs (August 2009) for a single-phase base rate (tarif bleu) or off-peak rate (tarif bleu option heures creuses) at various power capacities.
Table 1
EDF Base rate

Table 2
EDF Off-peak rate

The above tariffs include tax (TTC). Several taxes are levied on electricity bills apart from TVA, including municipal tax, departmental tax, CTA (contribution tarifaire d acheminement) and CSPE (contribution au service public d lectricit ) - all at various rates which can be found detailed on the relevant EDF bill.
Another tariff offered by EDF is Tempo. The Tempo tariff divides each day into one of three colours: red, white and blue.
The blue tariff is available for 300 days of the year; these days are the least expensive. The white tariff is applied for 43 days of the year and the red tariff for the 22 remaining days. The red tariff is the most expensive and is always applied from the November 1 st till March 31 st , but never on weekends and bank holidays.
Within each day, irrespective of colour, are off-peak and base rate periods, thus giving a total of six tariff periods. The daily base rate and off-peak periods vary according to the region. Typically, base rate can be from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. with off-peak from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m..
EDF decide which colour will be applied to the following day by sending a signal along the electricity network around 8 p.m. each day. This signal is picked up by the metering and energy management computer installed by EDF in your home. The computer illuminates the appropriate LED which indicates the colour for the next day.
This information is also available on internet, and you can arrange to be notified by e-mail or text message. This arrangement allows the consumer to manage their consumption by deferring the use of washing machines and electric heating etc.
EDF will provide the Tempo tariff upon request and install free of charge the management computer and the metering equipment in your home. The system is not available for consumers with less than 9 Kva supply capacity.
You will find more information on the EDF website.

EDF website
The EDF website has a section in English that offers, amongst other useful information and services, English-speaking telephone helplines, depending on your region. A list of these numbers is given in the Appendix. To access the English section, go to http://bleuciel.edf.com/residential-55833.html .

Three-phase systems
It is not uncommon to find three-phase systems in rural properties in France. This is most often an indication of their original use, perhaps as farm complexes. A three-phase supply could well have been installed originally to power farm machinery. Although the property may no longer be a working farm, the three-phase electricity supply may still be in place.
EDF will be happy to leave the three-phase supply, but it should be emphasised that unless you are qualified and competent in the complexities of a three-phase supply, it is best to seek professional advice.
The risks of shock and fire are considerably greater than in the case of a single-phase supply.
If such a property is the subject of a renovation project, then unless there is a specific need for a three-phase supply, it is strongly recommended that it be removed and replaced by a single-phase supply.
3 EDF metering and main switchgear
This chapter describes what EDF provide as their part of an installation, where your responsibility starts and what you need to get from that point to the consumer unit.
EDF equipment
The supply cabling to the property will arrive at the EDF main fuse box (coffret de coupe circuit), which provides mains short-circuit protection for the property. The fuses will be connected to the meter in the normal way and from there will be connected to the EDF RCD (disjoncteur de branchement). This will most likely be a double-pole RCD Type S with overcurrent release and a continuous load capacity of 45, 60 or 90 amp. It is adjustable within this range by EDF. The tripping sensitivity for earth faults is always 500 milliamp. The Type S has an approximately 40 millisecond delay in operation for earth faults, in order to allow the consumer unit RCDs to operate first in this event. The incoming terminals will be sealed, but the outgoing ones will not be, as they are the point of common coupling, i.e. where the consumer s responsibility takes over from that of E

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