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France - Gas
If you are in a rural property you need to look carefully at your gas consumption to see if you might need to have a tank installed on your property. If you simply want the gas for cooking then bottled gas should be adequate. Buying bottled gas is very easy as it is available from many different types of outlets including garden centres and petrol stations. You must have adequate storage facilities for the gas bottles. If you have gas central heating then you will use greater quantities and you will need a tank. These do not have to be bought but can be hired for around €400 per year. Having a gas tank filled is simply a case of calling the supplier and placing the order. When purchasing bottled gas you may need to show some ID.
When purchasing bottled gas you may be expected to pay an initial charge for the bottle, but this is just for the one bottle and when you have the same bottle refilled you will not have to pay this again. Care should be taken when buying new bottles to ensure that you are buying bottles of the same type.
If you are on mains gas then you will need to open an account with the supplier when you move into the property. You need to contact the local GDF office. They will take your details and have the meter read before you actually move in. It can take up to a month to have this process completed so it is a good idea to consider this in advance. In order to establish the account you will need to have a certain amount of documentation. This includes proof of address which can be a tenancy agreement, a sale agreement or confirmation of your address from the local mairie.
You can sign up to one of several different tariffs and these depend upon the type of home you have and your expected usage. The local suppliers can arrange a consultation for you to ensure that you are on the right tariff for your needs. Tariffs can be altered to suit your needs so if the one you are on is not the right one it can be changed.
Meters are fitted, usually to the outside of the house and these are read every six months, although in some areas this can be every four months. You should ensure that at least one bill a year is based on an actual reading, as the bills will be more frequent than the meter readings.
Bills will arrive every two or three months and there are several sections to the bill. You are expected to pay a standing charge (abonnement) which is based on the tariff you are on and the amount of gas you use. You will find that VAT is added to the bill and there are different rates for the standing charge and the charge for the gas consumed.
You can pay your bill in a number of ways. The most popular option is to pay by direct debit (prelevement automatique) which is an average amount each month based on your estimated gas usage. Your bank will give you an RIB which is the details you need to give to GDF. If you prefer you can pay your bills by credit card over the phone, by cheque via the post or cash or cheque at your local GDF office.
If you smell gas or you believe that there is an urgent problem with your gas supply GDF has a contact number that you can call which is available around the clock but it is not an English speaking department.
Gaz de France
Tel: 09 324 324
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