Use of the grid

Updated: 07.02.2019

Author: Helena Vidalic

  • Plant operators are contractually entitled against the grid operator to use the grid. The grid operator is obliged to conclude agreements on connection and use without discriminating against certain plant operators (art. L121-4 Code de l´énergie).
  • Low-voltage plants greater than or equal to 36 kVA and high-voltage plants. The operators of low-voltage plants greater than or equal to 36 kVA or high-voltage plants must conclude two agreements and one contract: The grid usage agreement (convention d'exploitation) shall stipulate the conditions for use of the grid and the liabilities of the parties as regards safety. The connection agreement (convention de raccordement) shall set out the specifications and the capacity of the plant and describe the technical procedure of grid connection (art. L342-1 to L342-12, Code de l’Énergie). In addition, the parties shall conclude a grid access contract (contrat d'accès au réseau de distribution en injection) that specifies provisions on liability and on the availability and distribution of energy.
  • Low-voltage plants. The connection of plants with a capacity of up to 36 kVA to a low-voltage grid requires the conclusion of an "all-in-one" agreement (convention de raccordement, d'accès et d'exploitation) on connection to the grid, use of the grid and plant operation.

The grid operator may refuse to conclude an agreement on grid use in the following exceptional cases (art. L111-93 Code de l'énergie):

  • for technical reasons, i.e. if usage could be detrimental to grid safety, reliability and quality.
  • if the producer does not hold the necessary licence. 

Entitled party: All authorised electricity producers are entitled to use the grid (art. L111-91 Code de l´énergie). Authorised producers shall be all operators of renewable energy plants that hold the necessary licence issued by the Ministry for Energy (art. L311-1 Code de l´énergie).

Obligated party: The obligated party is the grid operator. The companies deemed to be "grid operators" are Electricité de France (EDF) and all non-nationalised distribution grid operators (art.10 Loi n°2000-108). The term "EDF" shall refer to all national transmission and distribution grid operators.


Process flow

The claim for transmission arises at the date of the conclusion of the relevant agreements (grid use agreement, connection agreement, grid access contract).


Limitations and deadlines regarding claims for access to the grid depend on the terms of a given agreement.

Priority to renewable energy

  • Priority to renewable energy
  • Non-discrimination

The grid operator is obligated to grant access to the grid without discriminating against certain plant operators (art. L121-4 Code de l'énergie). Electricity from renewable sources is not given priority of use.


Grid stability is not regulated by law. Where the grid operates on full load or overload, the grid operator shall take ad-hoc measures to shut down electricity plants on the French mainland.

Plants with a maximum installed capacity corresponding to at least 1% of the minimum capacity distributed on the public distribution grid,  that generate electricity from "unused" sources (i.e. wind energy or photovoltaic energy plants), may be shut down by the public distribution network on the request of the distribution grid operator. Such action may only be taken if the real power exported to the grid does not exceed 30% of the real power of the entire grid. Further information on the shutdown of electricity plants is specified in the connection agreements. The terms and conditions of grid use are described in the grid use agreements (art. 22 Arrêté du 23 avril 2008).

Distribution of costs

There are no special provisions on the costs and the distribution of the costs of grid use by electricity from renewable sources. The costs of use of the grid by electricity from renewable sources shall be calculated in pursuance of the general legislation on energy (Loi n°2000-108).


Further information

  • Gestionnaire du Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) – transmission grid operator
  • +33 1 79 24 80 00
  • RTE website
  • Electricité Réseau Distribution France (ERDF) – distribution grid operator
  • +33 1 56 65 11 11
  • ERDF website