Written by Alexis Goldberg,
Last Modified: 16th January 2023

Linky meters are essentially smart meters which have been gradually deployed throughout France over the last few years. The roll out of meters actually started as long ago as 2010, believe it or not, firstly in the cities of Tours and Lyon. They’ve gradually started being installed throughout the country by power grid operator Enedis.

There are several advantages to these meters but as with anything new coming on the horizon, there has been a certain amount of skepticism about the meters. The French – particularly the older generation – are generally mistrustful of any innovative system and some people have assumed that prices would go up as a result of the Linkys. However, the law now states that from January 1 2023, all households must accept having a Linky meter.

Linky meter from ERDF I Image: NeydtStock via Shutterstock

Advantages of Linky smart meters

It is reasonably easy to understand how smart meter Linky works and there are many advantages to the system as follows:

– The new meters provide accurate readings at any time. There is thus no reason why a technician needs to visit to read the meter.

–  No need to report any meter readings. The consumption is noted on the meter and will be sent to the electricity company in real time.

– The meters enable you to save a little over the previous meters due to the fact that no technicians need to be employed to read them.

Since you have access to your actual usage of electricity, it really does help you think about how you can save by trying to take measures to save energy. I have personally found that after a while of getting used to the Linky meter, you start to be far more aware of turning off lights or only using your dishwasher or washing machine during the cheaper hours, for example.

Concept of invoice and electricity meter

Installation of your Linky meter

There is no cost at all to the customer for installation of the Linky meter. France has opted over the last few years to supply them to all households and since the beginning of this year, it is mandatory to have a Linky meter. Anyone refusing the installation of a meter will have to pay an extra €50 per year.

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How to read your Linky meter

The meter is pretty neat in size and clarity. It is predominantly green with a white part which shows the meter screen. Above this you will see a flashing light indicating the rate at which you are consuming electricity. You can actually see this light from quite far away and you will see it vary in speed according to how much your consumption is. So if it is flashing wildly and at fast speed, be sure to check what you may have on needlessly – so easily done!

By pressing the buttons at the bottom you can check your electricity consumption as well as your tariff and also the meter’s power capacity.

A lightbulb atop euro notes

Electricity tariffs and how to get the best rate

France opened up its electricity market to competition from various providers in 2017 so there is now not just one electricity cost but a whole host of different tariffs. With so many British people living in France, you can now find English help lines for most utilities to guide you as to what is best for you.

You can normally save money by comparing offers from different suppliers. Interestingly, it seems most French people still adhere to EDF for their electricity supply, not perhaps being aware that they are permitted to switch to a different supplier. EDF do have a very good English helpline too so this is a choice many British people make. If you have the time and inclination however, it does make sense to shop around for the best price which are often with the green energy suppliers.

I have found Total Direct Energie to be very good with competitive prices and a good service generally. They actually specialise in solar and wind energy and their electricity supply is 100% renewable through their guarantee that they pass on renewable energy certificates to their customers.

You still do need to bear in mind that there are many others out there though! The website Selectra has an excellent English speaking service which will help you decide on the best provider for you. The number to call is: {+33} 9 87 67 37 93.

Enedisis the power company behind smart meter Linky

Are Linky meters safe?

As mentioned at the start, Linky meters have not been welcomed by everyone in France. I know a few people locally who were adamant that they were not going to have one installed as they thought they may have adverse effects on health due to radiation. This is not something to worry about however: the type of low energy radiation the meters emit is not remotely enough to damage any DNA. Emissions from Linky meters are so small as to be negligible (even less than a microwave oven for example).

Overall Linky meters are for the best and if monitored regularly, should save you money on your electricity bills!

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