Providing gas and electricity to about 4.9 million residential customers in the UK, EDF Energy is currently the UK’s fourth-biggest energy supplier with 9.6% market share and the largest provider by volume in the nation. However, today’s energy market is increasingly competitive, so what does EDF Energy have to offer the informed consumer? Read on for all the essential information about this Big Six supplier.
Key Facts About EDF Energy
The EDF in EDF Energy stands for Electricité de France, because the UK’s fourth-largest provider and owner of all its active nuclear sites is in fact entirely owned by France’s EDF Group, which the French government currently owns an 83.7% stake in.
EDF was created in 1946, when about 1,700 smaller energy firms were nationalized and it became the main electricity generator and distributor in France.
The monopoly survived until a European Directive in 1999 made EDF give competitors access to 20% of its business. Five years later its status was changed from a state-owned to a limited liability corporation and the government floated a number of shares on the Paris stock exchange for the first time in 2005.
EDF entered the UK energy market in 1998 with the purchase of three local electricity boards and several power plants. In 2002, EDF Energy as we know it came into existence with the merger of the previously separate boards and power plants into one firm.
However, EDF Energy really made an impact in 2009 when it acquired British Energy and its nuclear power plants. British energy was then the largest independent energy generator in the UK, and so EDF had bought itself a seat at the table of energy titans known as the Big Six. See below for a round-up of EDF Energy’s three-quarters of a century existence.
1946 Before World War II, thousands of companies were involved in the generation, transmission and distribution of power around France. After the war the government decides the country needs a single public company and so the Electricité de France (EDF) state monopoly is born in 1946.
1950s EDF takes advantage of Marshall Plan funds to build high capacity generation and transmission infrastructure including many ambitious hydro-power plants.
1963 EDF opens France’s first nuclear power station at Chinon near the Loire Valley.
1966 The world’s first tidal power plant opened by EDF in Brittany.
1968 EDF turns on the first oil-fired thermal power station at Porcheville with a 600 Mw generating capacity.
1970sThe oil crisis of 1973 encourages France to bet on nuclear with EDF constructing 13 new plants in 1974 and 1975.
1983 Thémis, EDF’s first solar power plant, opens in Targassone in the Eastern Pyrenees.
1984 Daya Bay in China becomes EDF’s first nuclear power station built outside France.
1985 EDF begins exporting power to the UK with the completion of a 60-mile long interconnector across the English Channel.
1998 EDF buys the UK’s South Eastern Electricity Board, London Electricity plc and South Western Electricity Board along with several power plants.
2002 EDF Energy Customers, better known as EDF Energy, is formed in January 2002, following the merger of its three British electricity boards, two coal-fired power plants and a gas turbine power station.
2004 Seventy percent of the French electricity market is deregulated, EDF is transformed from a state-owned corporation to a limited-liability corporation.
2005 EDF is partially floated on the Paris Stock Exchange by the French government although it retains almost 83.7% ownership as of June 2019.
2007 EDF unveils its plan to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point C and two at Sizewell C.
2009 EDF becomes the UK’s largest distribution network operator and one of its largest generators when it buys British Energy and its eight nuclear sites. Also in 2009, EDF Group becomes the world’s largest producer of electricity.
2010 EDF Energy Networks, an electricity distribution concern formerly known as Ewere, is sold to Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Group and is later renamed UK Power Networks.
2013 The firm’s 27-turbine Teesside offshore wind park begins feeding into the UK grid.
2014 EDF sells three UK wind farms to the China General Nuclear Power Group for around £100m and it finalizes a deal with the British government to start work on the two third-generation reactors at Hinkley Point.
2016 EDF announces extension of operation of four of its UK nuclear plants until 2024 and 2030.
The group’s French offices are raided by inspectors who suspect the firm of manipulating electricity prices and anti-competitive behaviour.
2017 EDF Energy sells its stake in five UK wind farms for £98m.
2018 Around 200,000 customers jump ship to other firms as market competition heats up and its UK earnings fall by 16.5% to £691m.
2019 Ofgem appoints EDF Energy to take on 134,000 customers from Toto Energy.
2. Present day
EDF Energy has seen a small decline in overall UK market share throughout the last decade or so.
At present, EDF Energy has an 11% market share in electricity and 8% in gas. This represents a 3% decrease in electricity and a 1% increase in gas since Q4 2007, 12 years ago. In real terms this means it has around 3 million residential electricity accounts and about 1.9 million gas accounts.
Its total revenue for 2018 was £7.7bn compared to £5.8bn in 2007. The firm currently employs around 13,500 people in the UK.
3. EDF Shares and finance
As of June 2019, the UK firm EDF Energy is still wholly-owned by the EDF Group, 83.7% of which is owned in turn by the French government.
The second-biggest category of shareholders are institutional investors, such as banks or hedge funds, which own 13% of shares in the group.
Individual shareholders own 2% of shares and employees just 1.1%. Treasury stock, shares that have been repurchased by the company for various purposes, accounts for 0.2%.
According to the company’s latest annual report EDF Energy paid zero in dividends to its parent company. Shares in the EDF Group are down almost 28% in 2019.
EDF Energy’s operating profit, also called Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) was £172m in its last annual report.
The company was hit last year by the suspension of the capacity market following a judgment by the European Court of Justice.
Capacity market payments are intended to encourage companies to sustain or expand available power capacity to ensure a stable supply no matter what demand levels are.
The suspension deprived the company of £69m in payments from October to December 2018 alone. However, the European Commission has now cleared the way for the payments to resume.
EDF Energy, along with the rest of the Big Six energy suppliers is facing hungry competition from over 60 smaller challenger companies which have around 25% of the market, compared to only 1 percent around eight years ago.
4. EDF Energy in the news
Although a majority state-owned company, EDF has found itself in trouble with the authorities on several occasions.
Parent company EDF Group was raided by authorities investigating anti-competitive behaviour in 2009 and 2016.
In 2011, two high level employees were jailed and the firm was €1.5m for spying on Greenpeace and hacking its IT systems.
More recently, the UK arm generated plenty of headlines when it lost 200,000 customers in one year to rival firms.
It suffered more bad press when it announced its controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear plant would be delayed again by 15 months and would cost an extra £2.9bn to finish it by 2025.
The completion date for the UK’s first nuclear power plant in three decades was originally 2017.
The group’s construction of two other next-generation nuclear plants in France and Finland are also suffering long delays and cost increases.
In May 2018, EDF Energy increased its prices along with several other big energy players.
The company had a bit of a windfall following the collapse of Toto Energy this year. Ofgem appointed EDF Energy to take on the collapsed firm’s 134,000 domestic customers in October.
5. Fuel mix
Today EDF Energy touts itself as the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity, which it sometimes brands as “blue energy” by EDF, this means that it gets 72% of its energy from nuclear sources. The company owns all of Britain's active nuclear reactors and supplies around one-fifth of the country’s power.
Traditional green energy from renewables makes up 11.73% of its fuel mix. Gas comes in at 10.84%, coal at 5.20% and 0.16% is classed as coming from other sources.
Other EDF Energy services and activities
1. EDF Energy Insurance
Although it includes cover on some of its tariffs, EDF Energy does not provide the insurance itself, but has teamed up with Intana to offer the service to its customers.
For customers who already receive insurance cover from EDF Energy, you can contact EDF’s insurance partner Intana through its 24 hour-claims line on 0800 082 3426. If you just have some questions about your policy or want to renew it you can call 01444 442 879.
EDF Energy offer three levels of protection for your home and heating system through Intana:
|Boiler Protect||Heating Protect||Total Protect|
|Breakdown cover?||Boiler, controls and thermostat||Boiler, controls, radiators and thermostat||Boiler, controls and central heating|
|Boiller service included?||First year only||Annual||Annual|
|Replacement boiler?||Up to £500||Up to £500||Up to £500|
|Home evacuation cover?||No||Up to £150 towards hotel||Up to £150 towards hotel|
|Plumbing and drainage?||No||No||Yes|
|Electrical wiring, sockets and switches?||No||No||Yes|
You can also telephone Intana for further details about boiler service on 01444 442 878 from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
If you want to email, the address is email@example.com.
2. Energy Trust
The EDF Energy Trust is a registered nonprofit organisation which helps people who have problems paying their energy bills.
Current domestic customers of EDF Energy who find themselves in dire financial difficulty may be able to get an award to pay for their energy costs or to make their homes more energy efficient.
The Trust may provide grants to settle energy debts owed to EDF Energy or other suppliers, to help in cases of bankruptcy or other insolvency actions as well for the purchase of energy-efficient domestic appliances such as cookers.
Click here for Selectra’s guide to how the EDF Energy Trust works.
3. Warm home discount
Customers who receive the ‘Guarantee Credit’ element of ‘Pension Credit’ are automatically entitled to claim the discount, but those on low incomes or receiving certain means-tested benefits can also apply.
The scheme is in its ninth year and eligible customers can apply for a one-off payment towards their energy costs. For the winter 2019/20 period, the rebate is £140. Read our guide to EDF Energy Warm Home Discount to find out how to apply.
If you currently benefit from the Warm Home Discount, make sure you’re not missing out on potential savings. Smaller competitors may not offer the scheme, but you could still end up paying less with cheaper tariff rates, without having to jump through hoops!
4. Smart homes
EDF Energy is well-prepared for anyone interested in living in a smart home. The supplier offers various tariffs specifically for smart home enthusiasts, some of which come bundled with smart devices.
With an Amazon Echo or Dot acting as a hub you can connect all your smart systems and control them with just your voice via the Alexa AI.
On top of the usual tricks like asking it to play music or read the news, EDF Energy has added its own functions to Alexa to allow customers to do things like check your EDF Energy account balances, submit meter readings and find out when your tariff ends or when your next payment is due.
You can also get all sorts of other smart appliances from EDF:
- Smart lights are energy efficient LED bulb which can be voice-activated, dimmed, programmed to turn on and off or be remotely controlled from phones and tablets from anywhere in the world.
- Smart thermostats let you can program your heating to come on from anywhere via your phone, tablet or computer. So, whether your on your way back from work or from holiday you can be sure you’ll get back to a cozy house without wasting energy unnecessarily. These handy gadgets can also learn to anticipate when you’ll need heat and some models turn your heating on when your phone’s tracking technology lets them know you’re on your way home.
- EDF Energy also offers indoor and outdoor smart security cameras so you can monitor your home inside and out from anywhere in the world. Features include face recognition, alarm detectors, pet monitoring and live alerts.
- Still not smart enough for you? What about a smart radiator valve? These gadgets allow fine-grained control over your heating for each room in your house so you can make sure the heat gets just where it's needed, saving you on money and carbon emissions.
- How about a smart electric blanket, smart kettle or smart radio? Wi-fi connected smart plugs let you immediately turn any electrical appliance on or off or according to a schedule from anywhere in the world you can get online.
5. Smart Meters
The government target of a smart meter in every home by 2020 has been postponed by four more years and watered down. Energy suppliers are now expected to offer to install the technology in at least 85% of homes by 2024.
EDF Energy allows customers to book a smart meter installation online through its My Account system.
Smart meters are intended to make it easier to monitor your energy use regularly. The theory is that the data you get allows you to change your habits to use less energy and reduce costs. Moreover, with smart meters, customers are only supposed to pay for the energy they actually use and make estimated billing and in-person meter readings a thing of the past.
The reality of the promised smart meter revolution is somewhat underwhelming.
6. Feed in Tariffs
The feed-in tariff scheme (FIT) was intended to encourage customers to generate renewable energy and feed it back to the grid. Sadly, the government-backed scheme stopped accepting new applicants as of March 2019, although EDF Energy customers who signed up to participate before this date shouldn’t notice any change in their payments.
Eligible EDF Energy customers can avail themselves of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. This government-backed programme helps people make their homes more energy efficient and so lowers the cost of heating your home. If you own or privately rent your home and are in receipt of certain types of benefits you may be able to get your cavity walls or loft insulated completely free of charge. What’s more, if your boiler breaks down, under ECO you may be eligible for a subsidy to have it replaced.
EDF Energy tariffs and prices
The availability and details of EDF Energy’s range of tariffs can change from month to month. Availability of tariffs also differs by postcode. This can all make it difficult for customers to work out if they’re currently getting the best deal.
EDF Energy offers fixed and variable tariffs payable by direct debit and pay-as-you-go. It also offers specialized tariffs for owners of smart homes or smart cars.
Here at Selectra we like to save you some work, so we’ve put together a summary of EDF Energy’s tariffs below or click here for a comprehensive guide to EDF Energy tariffs to help you find your way around the energy giant’s offer.
What tariffs does EDF offer?
1. EDF Fixed tariffs
Fixed tariffs, such as the EDF Energy Easy Online 18 Month Fix tariff, charge a per unit rate that does not change for a specific amount of time and the same goes for the standing charge. This means your energy bills are more predictable and easier to budget for, as long as you keep using similar amounts of energy. However, because it’s fixed, if the wholesale price of gas or electricity drops you won’t see any savings reflected in your tariff.
2. Variable tariffs
Variable tariffs such as EDF Energy’s Easy Online Renewal fluctuate according to the cost of energy on the wholesale market so the per unit price you pay could go up or down from bill to bill. While this means you save money if the wholesale price drops, history shows the price usually rises, so unless nuclear fusion comes closer to materializing, variable tariffs are not a good bet in the long run.
Based on Selectra research, we’ve found that the average 3 bedroom, 3 person flat in London could save more than £450 if they switch providers!
3. Eco tariffs
The only renewable tariffs offered by EDF Energy are solely available to owners of electric vehicles (EVs). Its GoElectric tariff offers half-price electricity for both your electric car and your home between 9pm and 7am on weekdays and all weekend. One hundred per cent of the energy comes from renewables including wind, solar, biomass, tidal and hydroelectric generators.
4. EDF Economy 7 tariffs
Economy 7 is basically a catch-all name for tariffs with a different overnight rate for electricity. The seven in the name refers to the seven-hour off-peak period where electricity is traditionally cheaper, usually from 12.30am to 7.30am.
While EDF Energy doesn’t have a specific tariff called ‘Economy 7’, lots of its tariffs do include cheaper off-peak prices overnight. This can be financially beneficial if you have a storage heater which you can charge up at night and use the heat throughout the day. It’s also good for owners of EVs such as electric cars or scooters.
5. EDF Prepayment tariffs
EDF Energy offer a number of prepayment or pay-as-you-go tariffs. Paying for energy before you use it can give you more control over your bills and avoids unpleasant surprises. However, pay-as-you-go tariffs are seen as exploitative because they are normally more expensive than direct debit or other payment methods. So, if you’re in a position to budget for monthly or quarterly bills, avoid prepayment to save money in the long run.
6. Business tariffs
EDF Energy have offers tailored for both small businesses and larger enterprises. It offers different fixed tariffs for depending on the length of contract you choose. Fixed price plans are available which set the same price for up to five years. Larger companies can take out flexible purchasing contracts which give control over many different variables or even completely customizable ‘Performance Contracts’ for corporations with energy expenditure exceeding £1m a year.
EDF Energy prices compared to market averages
As a Big Six supplier EDF Energy has prices that are in line with other big players in UK energy. The company complies with Ofgem’s price cap limit on energy costs whenever the price cap applies.
In Spring 2019 EDF Energy raised the price of its standard variable tariffs while still respecting the Ofgem limit. When the regulator later lowered the price cap to £1,179, EDF followed with an adjustment which left its average energy price £2 lower than the new limit.
How can I contact EDF Energy?
EDF Energy provides different ways to get in touch whether you’re querying a bill, booking a smart meter installation or looking for advice.
The best way of contacting the company is probably via its Live Chat feature on its website or app.
Statistics show an average wait of 19.08 minutes to get through to an agent on the phone, putting it 35th in a survey of 38 suppliers. However, on live chat agents respond within an average of 2.67 minutes.
Check out Selectra’s detailed EDF contact guide.
EDF Energy App
The EDF Energy app lets you manage your account from your sofa, your workplace or when you’re out and about.
Balances, bills, energy use and tariff details are at your fingertips. Setting updates and reminders, making payments instantly, submitting meter readings by photo are all available functions. However, the app is currently not available for pay-as-you-go or prepayment customers.
Moving home with EDF Energy
You should be able to move your current EDF Energy tariff to your new address, except in cases where it is tied to a specific type of meter not installed at your new property.
See Selectra’s detailed guide on moving for EDF customers.
EDF Energy login
EDF Energy’s My Account is a handy way of accessing many, if not all of EDF Energy’s domestic services. The online portal lets you do everything from checking and paying your bills, submitting meter readings, changing Direct Debit arrangements, switching your tariff, or updating your details.
If you’re new to the EDF Energy login process, click here to read our step by step instructions and troubleshooting tips to find out how to make the most of the My Account online service.
EDF Energy reviews and verdict
EDF Energy reviews
There’s a discrepancy about EDF Energy where Ofgem statistics show that while a sizeable 68% of EDF Energy’s electricity customers say they are satisfied with its service, just 29% of customers would recommend the supplier to others. Similarly only 29% say EDF values its customers.
The company fares quite well on the consumer review site Trustpilot. ‘Excellent’ was the rating given to it by 69% of some 5,884 reviews. Twenty two per cent rated the company ‘Bad’ and the rest were somewhere in between.
Analyzing the content of reviews shows that the biggest complaint about EDF is related to smart meters issues, which in many cases may be bigger than EDF itself.
Another recurring issue is of direct debit payments changing without any warning from the company, despite all the ways it has to contact its customers.
Similarly, there are many reports of ex-customers being surprised with larger bills from EDF often accompanied by legal threats to pay up, months or even years after closing their accounts.
Click here to read Selectra’s analysis of EDF Energy customer reviews.
As a Big Six supplier EDF Energy benefits from a critical mass of customers who stick with the company no matter what because they believe switching is too difficult, time consuming or ineffective.
Its prices are usually close to Ofgem’s price cap, so this isn’t a company that’s going to save you money.
That said, its customers are quite happy with their experience. Their attitude seems to be energy supplier’s service meets their expectations, even if they are strangely reluctant to recommend the same firm to family or friends.
Some critics claim that due to customer inertia, its position in the Big Six and the backing of the French state mean EDF Energy doesn’t have a lot of incentive to improve its offering, customer service or prices by any significant margin any time soon.
Depending on where you stand on energy generation, EDF's claim to be a low-carbon producer when only 11.73% of its fuel mix comes from renewables may hold sway. The 72.07% nuclear may be an issue for some environmentally-concerned customers.
At the end of the day, it's worth talking to our energy experts to see if EDF Energy is the right supplier for your home.