Total’s French retail electricity arm is on track to win 700,000 customers this year, challenging former state monopolies EDF and Engie with a low-cost, digital service it believes could mimic Uber’s success in the taxi market.
Total Spring is signing up 3,500 to 4,000 customers every day, attracting them with a 10 percent discount to the regulated price that state-controlled rival EDF must use, its director Marc Bensadoun told Reuters.
A decade after liberalization, France’s power supply market is final coming to life as the process of switching providers has become easier and the entrance of new players has increased customer awareness of the options available, according to Reuters.
EDF still accounts for about 80 percent of the retail power market, with roughly 26 million customers, but it is losing around 100,000 a month, according to French energy market regulator CRE.
Since oil giant Total’s entry into the market a year ago, several other major French companies – including retail groups Casino and Leclerc – have launched retail electricity offers with big discounts to EDF’s regulated tariffs.
Italian energy group Eni also launched an offer a year ago, with a target of around two million clients by 2021.
Total is aiming for at least 15 percent of the French retail gas and power market by 2022, or six million customers, up from about 6 percent at the end of 2017, helped by its $1.7 billion purchase of alternative power supplier Direct Energie.