January 17, 2017 / 2:44 PM / 3 years ago

Direct Energie targets 4 mln clients in France by 2020

PARIS, Jan 17 (Reuters) - French utility Direct Energie , France’s third-biggest power vendor, targets 4 million clients in France by 2020 from a present 2.1 million and is considering buying new gas-fired plants to boost generation capacity, its chief executive said.

The company has profited from the end of regulated tariffs for companies and municipalities last year to win market share from former monopoly power provider EDF, which still has some 87 percent of France’s retail power customers.

Last year, it won 700,000 new clients after winning 500,000 in 2015 and now boasts a 5 percent share of the French electricity retail market, right behind gas utility Engie , which has about 8 percent. By 2020, it aims to have a 10 percent market share.

“We have reached a tipping point. The market structure now finally allows us to earn a living,” Direct Energie chief executive Xavier Caitucoli said.

He said Direct Energie was signing up about 3,000 new customers per day, with peaks of 4,000 customers sometimes, though these numbers do not include clients leaving. The firm has a churn rate of about 18 percent per year. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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