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What is a French Linky and will I be charged extra for not having one?

The Local France
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What is a French Linky and will I be charged extra for not having one?
The electricity smart meter Known as Linky is installed by Enedis (the French Electricity Network Distribution. Photo by DAMIEN MEYER / AFP

It's a mundane household item that has become the centre of much misinformation and even conspiracy theories - here is what's really going on with France's Linky meters.


What is it?

The Linky is an electricity smart meter - it keeps track of exactly how much electricity you are using and sends that information straight to your supplier, who uses it to calculate your bills.

It eliminates the need for regular meter-readings, since the information is sent directly to the company.

It also enables you to use electricity-tracking apps such as Edf&Moi, which shows you how much electricity you have used each day and recommends ways to lower your usage (and therefore your bill).

READ ALSO 6 apps that will help you save energy in France

Depending on the property type, the Linky can also function as a fuse box with a 'reset' button to press if your electricity has fused. If you have a power cut and need to ring the grid supplier Enedis, the message on the digital display of the Linky will help them to work out what the problem is. 


Who has one?

Around 90 percent of homes in France now have one, according to the grid operator Enedis, which has been rolling out Linky meters since 2015.

If your property does not have one, you can request to have one installed by Enedis. It's not compulsory though, so the choice is yours.

Do you get charged extra for not having a Linky?

The purpose of a Linky is to send details of your consumption directly to your electricity supplier - the electricity companies like them because they no longer have to employer meter readers, and can also cut back on call centre staff whose job it is to take meter readings over the phone - in short, it saves them money.

If you do not have a Linky installed you can be charged an extra €4.15 per month - according to a ruling by the Commission de Régulation de l'Energie which came into effect on January 1st 2023.

However, the extra charge only applies if you don't have a Linky and you haven't submitted a meter reading within the last 12 months. 

Be aware that because most households now have a Linky, electricity companies don't send many (or in some cases any) reminders about meter readings, so it's up to you to stay on top of this and make sure you send a reading every year.

For the rest of this year and for 2024, you can escape the extra charges if you send regular meter readings. However, from January 1st 2025 the extra charges will apply even if you send in your meter readings.

The only exception is households for whom installing a Linky has proved technically impossible - for this you would need to have booked a technician's appointment to have it installed, but it has been impossible for the technician to install it (which is pretty rare).


Even from 2025 it will not be compulsory to install the Linky, if you don't mind paying the extra charge.

Why are they controversial?

The humble little yellow plastic box and become the centre of conspiracy theories in France, where people claim the government is using them to spy on you.

Even people who haven't quite gone that far down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole will often tell you that your bills will increase if you get a Linky.

In reality it's usually the other way round. It also enables companies to send out bills based on your actual monthly usage, so you won't get estimated bills, which tend to be higher.

But it's still your choice, as long as you don't mind paying the extra €4.15 a month.  


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Paul Smith 2023/09/12 15:06
You already pay the meter reading charge which is built in to your existing contract. The meter measures kVA instead of kWh giving inaccurate power consumption with certain equipment. The radio frequencies used to transmit your consumption injected into your house supply by LINKY can cause problems with connected equipment and your sleep patterns. Your consumption can be analysed remotely, and with the capability for Enedis to remotely switch on and off your supply could be problematic.

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