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French Electrical Regulations

When we moved into our house there were electric had been disconnected. There was no Linky electricity meter and what remained of the wiring looked liked it came from the 1940’s. There was signs of burning and only 5 power sockets in the entire house. Three rooms upstairs didn’t even have lights. A five year old quote that came with the house purchase suggested a very basic re-wire would be €12,750. This quote did not mention the number of sockets per room, the kitchen spec, boilers, or any detail of any particular note.

French Electricity Specifications vs English

English and French wiring specifications are different. As to are the components used. Wiring, switches, fuse boxes, breakers, etc cannot be interchanged. About the only components that be re-used are lighting. Plug-in items and appliances can re re-used by changing the plug.

In France there are no ring mains. The French use radial connections. In the event of a fault, both the live and neutral wire are broken by an MCB trip at the consumer unit as there aren’t fuses in the plugs. Many plugs in France aren’t earthed. All major appliances, particularly in kitchens have there only dedicated wire from the consumer unit with nothing else running off that socket.

A French house, if wired to modern standards; with a lot of modern hi-tech, high power consumption equipment inside, will have an unbelievable amount of cabling inside. Much greater that it’s UK counterpart.

Power Demand (KVA)

In the UK many new build 4 bed houses are being built with 30KVa supplies, Flats with 20KVa ready to meet the needs of modern electric vehicle charging needs. Until 2 years ago, when our French neighbour had their Linky meter installed, they had a 3KVa supply. We had to ask 3 different suppliers to get the maximum 12KVa supply for the area.

Linky Meter

For the last two months we have been surviving with no lights and only one mains socket.

We are still reliant on our 30 year old portable, camping gas stove for our meals and have yet to sort out any form of heating.

As the nights draw in, we will soon need some form of lighting other than torches.

Time is running out!

Professional Quotes

The professional quotes for wiring the house were astronomical; in fact they were several years wages.

Luckily as a teenager, I qualified as an electrician in the UK.
Most of those skills are transferable to French regulations and wiring practices.

There is a good eBook on Amazon, although a little out of date. ‘Electricity in your French house‘.

There are now nearly 1500 meters of first fix cabling starting to route their way through the house and we have barely started.

Within the next week, we might have a working hob and oven. Plus, we’ll have such luxuries as fridges and freezers!

French Electrical Regulations NF C 15-100

There are regulations on how many sockets a room needs per square meter. If you have a timber framed house like us, even an average room can need 4 breakers to meet regulations. Our kitchen uses 14 circuit breakers!

Nature of CircuitMinimum crosssection of
conductors in
Max Rating Circuit Breaker in AmpsMax Rating Fuse in AmpsEquipment – Installation conditions
16A Power Socket2.5
– Max. 8 sockets per circuit
– Max. 5 sockets per circuit.

The minimum number of 16A socket outlets shall be :
– 3 per room
– 1 per 4 m2 with a minimum of 5 in the living room
– 6 non-specialised in the kitchen, 4 of which are to be placed above the worktops. These pedestals are not installed above the sink or hob.
– 1 at least in other premises > 4 m2 and corridors, except for toilets and non adjoining annexes (garden sheds, garages, etc.)
Controlled Socket Outlet1.51610– 1 control switch for max. 2 sockets (located in the same room)
– 1 remote switch, contactor or similar device can control more than two sockets
Specialised 16 A socket outlet or specialised circuits2.52010– at least 3 circuits(1) intended to supply appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, ovens, freezers, tumble
– 1 circuit must be provided for each additional
major appliance.
VMC, circuit servo control tariff, pilot wire, energy manager 1.52ProhibitedThe protection associated with the VMC can be increased up to 16 A (special cases)
The ventilation system must have a shut-off device. A dedicated circuit breaker provides this function.
Hob or Cooker6 mono or 2.5 sort32
– 1 dedicated circuit must be provided (junction box or socket outlet)
Independent Oven2.5 2016– dedicated circuit (junction box or socket outlet)
Lighting1.51610Max. 8 light points per circuit
2 circuits minimum in dwellings > 35 m2.
Each room must be equipped with at least one lighting point
(this light point should be placed on the ceiling in the kitchen, bedrooms and living room).
This provision does not apply to non (garden sheds, garages, etc.).
1 light point should be provided per main entrance and service
1 dedicated circuit for non-contiguous outdoor lighting
to the building
Water Heaters2.52016– specialised circuit
Convector Panels /
radiators (single phase)



16 (3500w)
-number of devices limited by the sum of the powers
Under-floor Heating
(single phase)


Prohibited– only circuit breakers should be used for the over-current protection

Useful Documents

Legrand – LES POINTS CLÉS DE LA NORME NF C 15-100(1) – (pdf)

Schneider Electric – Norme NF C 15-100 Guide 2019

To a lay-person, particularly someone from the UK…
When they open up the cupboard containing the fuse box, they will be confronted with a colossal wall of switches! Nearly 60, once we are finished.

We were talking to our neighbours and their house was recently upgraded to 3 phase 12Kva; like ours. Previously, they had been surviving on just 2Kva. To many, non-French 12Kva sounds rather lightweight, however for the Creuse it is the top specification available.

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