Wednesday, 29 January 2014 16:44

Electrical Installations in France

Written by  Sara Dodd of Leigh Dodd Electricité Générale

Before you buy a house in France a set of diagnostic surveys will be supplied to you by the agents or the seller – one of these surveys will be for the electrical installation and will include checks on earth faults as well as dangerous and bad installations. This survey is a good starting point and should highlight any major problems that you can then discuss with your electrician.


Numerous properties that are sold in France have been empty for many years so there are potential problems with old wiring/electrical installations and off course the possibility of wires having been damaged by animals! Also an old property is unlikely to have a wiring system geared up to our modern way of living or include modern safety features.

If the property you’re buying doesn’t currently have power in it but did so in the past then it is usually possible to have it  simply reconnected by EDF (the French electricity board) – they may well insist on fitting a new meter and this will cost more than a simple reconnect - your electrician should be able to advise you . Beware that on existing installations EDF don’t generally check any of the wiring safety so it is always a good idea to get a French registered electrician to check everything before the power is put back on.

There are big differences between France and UK electrical installations. Your property will either have three phases, single phase, or no supply connected i.e. a rural building up for total renovation. Many older properties in country areas and especially barns will be on three phase – this isn’t necessarily a problem but it is something that needs to be addressed before you decide on installing the electrics.

There are many different power supply options and tariffs with EDF. The regulations, power options and wiring can become complicated especially if you need to replace old fuse boxes and install a new consumer unit with breakers and earth trip devices. new fuse board

You may well also find that UK wiring has already been installed in a house/barn – many properties originally owned by British residents have been wired up to UK standards using UK rated wires and consumer units. Even if the work has been completed to a high standard if it is not in line with French regulations using the correct French materials and devices you may find you have problems if you ever had to make an insurance claim – however lighting brought from any country in the EU is accepted in France as long as they are supplied with an EU sticker.

Leigh and Sara Dodd are a husband and wife team and moved over to the Dordogne from the UK and run a French registered electrical company who carry out a wide range of electrical work in the Dordogne and Haute Vienne - from complete rewires, to smaller jobs including installation of satellite dishes/remote outside lighting/ home security systems /electric gates and shutters.

If you would like any electrical help or advice before or after you buy a property please visit our website where you’ll find more info and our contact details.


"Leigh and Sara recetly recently carried out a complete rewire for an old house I bought as an investment project - their work, service and attention to detail was first class and I'd have no hestation in recommending them" 

Jon Boella  director


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