IARC Welcome Pack
WATER, ENERGY, AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS CONTRACTS
You will have to set up contracts for water, electricity, and/or gas, and for Internet, telephone, and television (especially for cable television).
Each provider will need your surname, first name, and address, the exact location of the property (including number and floor for a flat), the latest meter reading, and bank details if you intend to pay by monthly direct debit (advisable but not compulsory).
The main company is Veolia: http://www.veolia.fr (0 810 000 777).
The contract is established on the basis of a monthly estimate of your consumption, and once a year an employee from the water company will come and read the meter. You will then receive a bill based on your actual consumption.
Water consumption (hot and/or cold) is sometimes included in the rental charges that you pay as part of your rent. The principle is the same: you pay a monthly estimate of your water consumption, and the balance (positive or negative) is paid or reimbursed once a year.
The main company is EDF: www.particuliers.edf.com (0 810 050 333 or 09.69.39.33.05).
The contract is established on the basis of an estimate calculated according to the type of equipment installed, including or excluding the heating of the property. Meter readings are made twice a year; payments are made monthly, with an annual payment made to adjust for actual consumption. Various contracts are available (e.g. day/night rates), depending on the type of electricity meter.
The main company is Gaz de France (GDF Suez): http://www.gdfsuez-dolcevita.fr (0 810 800 801 or 09.69.324 324).
The contract is established on the basis of an estimate of your gas consumption (kitchen and/or heating and hot water), with an annual payment made after the meter reading.
NB: For safety reasons (checking of equipment), the opening and closing of a gas contract can necessitate the visit of a company technician.
Whatever energy provider you choose, you will be warned in advance that technicians are coming to read the different meters. If you are absent, the technician will leave a card on your door or in the letter box, which must be filled in once you have read the meter yourself. It is important to do this and return the card to your energy provider with the actual meter consumption; otherwise, you might receive a hefty final bill.
In France, various providers offer these services in the following packages: Internet, Internet plus telephone, or Internet plus telephone plus television. The ”Internet plus telephone plus television” package costs about €40 per month.
The main providers are:
- Orange - France Télécom (original monopoly in France): http://www.orange.fr
- SFR: http://www.sfr.fr
- Bouygues Télécom: http://www.bouyguestelecom.fr
- Numericable: http://www.numericable.fr
- Free: http://www.free.fr
- Darty: http://www.www.dartybox.com
The majority of providers will also offer mobile phone contracts as an extension of your main contract and therefore at a preferential price.
In order to take out a contract, you will need to provide your surname, first name, address, bank details, and the France Télécom number of the property (original provider when the network was a monopoly) or the name of the person who previously rented the property, so that France Télécom can identify the right line.
Modalities to cancel a contract differ across companies. You will need to refer to the conditions in the contract. More often than not, you will have to send a registered letter to the company a certain period before the date on which you wish to cancel (this will be indicated in the contract). If payments have been made by direct debit, you should ask your bank to cancel them once the last bill has been paid.
NB: Some packages are particularly attractive because they are based on the length of the contract (usually 2 years). However, be warned that cancellation in advance of this type of contract can then be very expensive.
It is preferable to buy a SIM card in France on arrival. If bought prior to arrival, SIM cards should start with a 06 or 07 number; otherwise, international rates may be charged.
The main providers of prepaid SIM cards are:
- For travellers in France/Europe: http://www.lefrenchmobile.com/en.html
- Lebara mobile: http://www.lebara.fr/
- SFR: http://www.sfr.fr
- B&You: http://www.b-and-you.fr/
- Orange: http://www.orange.fr
- laposte: http://www.lapostemobile.fr/
When moving out
You must send the last meter readings (made during the final inventory) to your energy providers. You can then request the closing of the contracts, and the final bill is sent to the address indicated, which can be the Agency’s address.
If payments have been made by direct debit, you should ask your bank to cancel them once the last bill has been paid.