Shutting off the water heater with Linky: how does it work, are you concerned?

Hot water tank, cumulus, water heater, electric boiler: we give different names to what allows us to have hot water at home. It is quite simply a tank that heats the water in order to deliver it when the tap is activated. ad hoc in the kitchen or bathroom. And in recent days, this device is often mentioned in the news.

If this element, which is found in many homes, is at the forefront, it is because of a decree of September 22, 2022 in which the State asks Enedis, manager of the public distribution network to electricity in France, “temporarily deactivate the closure of the controllable contact during off-peak meridian hours”.

This measure is not limited to a simple clean power cut for all households at noon. In a press release, Enedis indicates that it will suspend “the automatic switching signal linked to off-peak hours from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.”. This decision will apply during the period from October 15, 2022 to April 15, 2023.

More concretely, this amounts to not heating household water tanks between 12 noon and 2 p.m., during peak consumption. It is, among other things, the capabilities of the Linky counter that make it possible to implement this measure, but not only. Even if you have a Linky meter and a storage water heater at home, you will not necessarily be affected.

Are you one of the 4.3 million households affected?

In France, nine out of ten households have a Linky meter, but not all of them have a storage water heater. If your hot water is produced by a gas (boiler) or solar model, for example, you are not affected by this measure. In reality, only 4.3 million households are targeted. Here are the criteria required for this restriction to apply.

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  • Hold an off-peak/peak hours contract : the measure will apply during off-peak hours, and only for customers benefiting from off-peak hours between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Own a Linky meter : the presence of a Linky meter is necessary, because only this type of meter is able to keep the tariff for off-peak hours for all appliances in the house, while not activating the contact for the hot water tank .
  • Be equipped with a controllable contact and a hot water tank : as we have mentioned, only households with a storage water heater are concerned. This must be correctly connected to the controllable contact on the meter.

The Linky meter may be modern and connected, but it does not know how to recognize the device that requires energy when it delivers it. Whether you turn on a toaster or plug in a smartphone to charge it, the electricity is the same. For the hot water tank, it is a little different since this one, if it is correctly connected, is connected to the contact of the meter managing off-peak hours.

Electrician @AnthonyDsert shared some images and explanations on Twitter showing these elements, in particular the contactor of the water heater. Positioned on Auto, it will activate automatically during off-peak hours to heat the water and store it in order to deliver it at any time of the day when a tap is operated.

Even when it is not activated, your cumulus is therefore always able to supply hot water. In a second press release, Enedis also specifies that the user will always have the possibility of manually activating the contactor, even during the period from 12 to 14 p.m. in order to force the heating if necessary. But for the vast majority of households, the quantity of water accumulated and heated overnight will be sufficient to supply the needs until the next period of off-peak night hours.

The purpose of the measurement is therefore to transfer energy consumption during the peak from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. to the night, when the demand for electricity is lower. This measure will therefore have no impact on hot water consumption habits or on the bills of the customers concerned. On the other hand, it will save a quantity of electricity equivalent to the consumption of a city like Paris over the period concerned.

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