Free to install, the Linky meter is not without cost for the French. It should even increase the amount of our electricity bills from next year. In September 2011, the Minister of Industry and Energy Eric Besson promised however that it would not cost “not a cent to individuals” in the columns of the Parisian.
Since then, 32 of the 35 million electronic meters in France have been replaced by the “smart” meter from Enedis (ex-GRDF). According to a 2018 Court of Auditors report, each device costs 130 euros. The total amount of deployment in France is estimated at 5.7 billion euros, including 5.39 for Enedis.
Users will finance the deferred investment
To finance this sum, the operator of the electricity distribution network first drew on its own funds. But above all he borrowed from the European Investment Bank (EIB). And this at the very advantageous rate of 0.77%.
The repayment of this loan should begin in 2022. Except that it is not really Enedis which will pay off its debts, but the users, through what is called a “deferred tariff”.
A lucrative operation for Enedis
This mechanism allows Enedis to pass the cost of its investment on to users’ bills once 90% of the Linky meters have been installed, which will be the case at the end of the year. In other words, the EDF subsidiary has advanced money, and it is consumers who will soon have to reimburse.
Enedis could even earn money from this operation. The interest rate which will be passed on to our invoices will indeed be 4.6%, far from the generous rate of 0.77% proposed by the EIB. According to the calculations of the Court of Auditors, Enedis will achieve a margin of 2.8%, or 500 million euros. As early as 2018, the Court pointed the finger at this “tariff deferral at excessive cost”.
Will Linky’s benefits offset its cost?
For his part, the manager argues that the additional cost for consumers – estimated at around fifteen euros per year in the coming years by UFC-Que Choisir – will be offset by the savings made thanks to the Linky meter. The latter should in theory reduce the number of technical interventions, and earn a billion euros in the next four years.
The communicative nature of the Linky meter is also highlighted by Enedis. In theory, the latter allows better control of electricity consumption thanks to real-time measurements. According to the company, users will therefore save money and in fine earn money. This hypothesis still has to be verified in practice.