French Consumers Better Informed but Subject to More Aggressive Marketing

The French “Médiateur National de l’Énergie” has published the results of its annual consumer survey (“Baromètre Energie-Info”). The survey shows that consumers are better informed about the liberalisation of the energy market and their right to change supplier but also subject to more aggressive marketing practices such as unsolicited calls. Energy consumption and bills are a concern for most consumers.

In 2018, 66% of French consumers know about their right to change supplier, and 21% declare to have switched (compared to 16% in 2017). In addition, French consumers are more likely to look for information on their rights in energy markets (32% compared to 20% in 2017). However, more consumers were subject to unsolicited marketing practices, especially cold calls. Tellingly, over half of respondents declared to have been contacted by an energy supplier with an offer to switch. Consumers also more frequently received offers to carry out insulation works and to install renewable energy equipment.

At a time when energy prices are increasing, two-thirds of people declare that energy makes up an “important part” of their household expenses and 9% declared having problems to pay their bills. Up to 30% of respondents restricted their heating in order to avoid excessive bills, and 15% declared having been cold at home (this proportion goes up 23% for the 18 – 44 years).

The survey was carried out between the 4 and the 27 September 2018 and is based on a representative sample of 1501 households.

More information is available on the website of the Médiateur