Paris, France — (METERING.COM) — December 2, 2008 – Residential customer switching in France’s energy markets has shown a marked increase, up 79 percent in the electricity market and 53 percent in the gas market in the third quarter compared with the second quarter.

In its latest Electricity and Gas Market Observatory, the French regulator, Commission de Régulation de l’Énergie (CRE), has reported that at September 30, 2008 a total of 515,000 electricity customers and 310,000 gas customers had switched supplier since the market was opened in July 2007.

This compares with 288,000 electricity customers and 203,000 gas customers who had switched supplier at June 30, 2008. There are a total of 29.4 million electricity customers and 11 million gas customers.

Switching by non-residential customers also continued to increase during the third quarter of 2008. At September 30, four years after market opening for these customers, 348,000 electricity customers and 90,000 gas customers had chosen an alternative supplier. This compares with 344,000 non-residential electricity customers and 84,000 non-residential gas customers that had switched suppliers at June 30, 2008.

In total 7.2 percent of non-residential electricity customers (accounting for 12.5 percent of total consumption) and 13.2 percent of non-residential gas customers (accounting for 19 percent of total consumption) have now chosen an alternative supplier.

During Q3 of 2008, alternative suppliers were responsible for 23 percent of all gas connections (both residential and non residential) and 4 percent of all electricity connections.

Also noteworthy is that both the electricity and gas markets remain dominated by regulated tariffs. At September 30, 96 percent of electricity customers (accounting for 88 percent of consumption) and 93 percent of gas customers (representing 55 percent of consumption) were on regulated tariffs.

About 160 local suppliers, including the incumbent suppliers, were active in France at September 30, 2008. These suppliers operate locally or regionally and offer contracts to one or more segments of customers.