Our role as a gas distribution company
GRDF’s primary role is to ensure the delivery of gas right to its residential, commercial and industrial customers in the best possible conditions in terms of quality, security and cost. We manage a nationwide network that brings essential energy to some 11 million customers. GRDF was created in 2007, with the deregulation of the French energy market. Our public service mission is to distribute natural gas on behalf of municipalities and other local authorities. GRDF is an independent subsidiary of the ENGIE Group.
GRDF’s key missions as a natural gas distribution company are to deliver gas to its customers, maintain and develop the natural gas distribution network, connect new customers to the distribution grid, and find and implement innovative solutions.
We maintain the network (pipes, connections, valves, etc.), and carry out all necessary emergency work 24/7 in the event of any disruption in supply or suspected leak. We are also responsible for meters and we are in the process of installing smart gas meters for our 11 million customers. The final part of our public service mission is to develop and promote the use of renewable gas by all consumers in France to achieve a sustainable energy mix.
Gas transporters, distributors, installers, suppliers: what are the different roles ?
• A gas transmission network operator, or transporter, is responsible for managing all or part of the high-pressure gas transmission network, normally from entry terminals to the distribution networks. The gas is transferred to the distributor at a maximum pressure of 25 bar, allowing it to enter the distribution network.
• A distributor operates the network in which natural gas circulates, up to the premises or delivery points of GRDF customers.
• An installer sets up gas equipment used by consumers.
• A supplier purchases the gas that circulates in the network and sells it to end-customers (like a retailer purchasing wholesale goods to sell on to consumers). Suppliers are responsible for signing contracts with their customers, billing them and collecting their payments.
Who are GRDF’s stakeholders and partners ?
- Energy suppliers
Energy suppliers purchase the gas wholesale and sell it to end-customers. They design offers and services in a competitive retail environment. There are more than 50 natural gas suppliers in France, all complying with a framework of strict competition laws. GRDF’s public service mission is to provide all these operators with access to the grid. We work closely with them to ensure a secure, reliable and safe supply, scrupulously ensuring impartiality of treatment for all players.
- Energy regulators
GRDF is under a legal requirement to carry out its operations fairly and impartially. The French Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission de Régulation de l’Énergie or CRE) is an independent authority that ensures fair play for all: it offers the end-customer protection from abusive pricing by suppliers, and protects suppliers from unfair treatment by the distributor. It has the power to sanction unscrupulous practices. In practice GRDF and other players work closely with the Commission, which operates with independence, impartiality and transparency.
- Local authorities
The distribution grid is managed and operated by GRDF on behalf of local authorities, which actually own the infrastructure. Local authorities sign concession contracts with GRDF, on the basis of detailed requirements in terms of security, investments, services and performance. We guarantee the level of performance throughout the duration of the contract.
The introduction of energy deregulation and a competitive marketplace in 2004 for commercial clients and in 2007 for domestic users was intended to allow end-customers to choose their suppliers freely by comparing their offers. GRDF fully respects its responsibility and ensures that the supply of gas to homes and businesses is utterly safe and reliable.
- International partners
In Europe, GRDF is a member of GD4S (Gas Distributors for Sustainability), a federation headquartered in Brussels that spreads best practices in all areas of gas distribution relating to the issue of sustainable gas. Moreover, we have developed partnerships with international gas distributors like Energir in Canada and SocalGas in California, and we coordinate exchanges among distribution system operators within the ENGIE Group (in Mexico, Romania, Turkey, Argentina, and Thailand). In these partnerships, all players can share their experience in technical and strategic domains.
We are committed to providing natural gas to every customer, every day, managing a very extensive gas distribution network of more than 200,000 km of pipes...