As the weather turns colder and global energy prices remain high, we look at the different state support schemes available to help people with their energy bills.
While some are means-tested, others can be accessed by all residents of France. Here is a recap.
Read also: How cold will this week be and where is snow expected in France?
Bouclier tarifaire price cap
Regulated gas and electricity tariffs have been capped throughout this year by a government shield, known as the bouclier tarifaire price cap.
Under this regulated gas prices were frozen and regulated electricity tariffs capped at a 4% rise in autumn 2021.
France’s regulated energy tariffs (tarifs réglementés) are fixed by the state. They are offered only by historic providers such as EDF or Engie.
At the end of last year, there were 2.8 million households on the regulated gas tariff – 26.5% of all the households with gas-heating – and 23 million on the regulated electricity tariff.
Alternative suppliers can index their rates on the regulated tariff or offer contracts based on wider market prices.
The government has announced that it will continue applying a price cap in 2023 but that it will rise from the current 4% to 15%.
This will apply to regulated gas prices in January and regulated electricity prices in February.
Read more: Regulated French gas and electric bills capped at 15% rise in 2023
Without the bouclier tarifaire, regulated electricity prices would rise by €180 per month, while with it they will go up by about €20 per month.
Regulated gas prices would rise by €200 per month without the cap, but will go up by around €25 with it.
People who are with alternative suppliers will see varying tariffs depending on whether or not they are indexed on the regulated rate.
It is possible to move back to the tarif réglementé d’électricité if you have changed to a different supplier but this is not possible with regards to the tarif réglementé de gaz naturel.
Read more: Can I change my French electricity supplier for a cheaper alternative?
Around 12 million lower-income households in France will soon be receiving an exceptional chèque énergie to help with their winter energy costs. This new payment will be in addition to the regular annual cheque sent out in the spring.
People who already received the energy cheque in 2022 will receive another cheque for €200 later this month.
In addition, households with a revenu fiscal de référence per person unit (unité de consommation) of more than €10,800 but less than €17,400 will receive a cheque for €100.
The aid will be sent out automatically with no action needed by the recipient.
You can find out more about this aid on this government website.
Wood heating aid
Financial help in the form of a chèque chauffage au bois will be available on request for households that heat their homes with wood and wood pellets from the end of December, with €230million of public funds available in total.
The website for applications is not yet online but is due to open on December 22.
Read more: Heat your house in France with wood? How to apply for aid
Up to €200 will be available depending on household income.
Public Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal has said that: “People in France who earn up to €2,260 for a single person or up to €4,750 for a couple with two children, will receive between €50 to €200.”
People using wood pellets will receive €100-€200, while people using logs will receive €50-€100 depending on their income.
Further information is available on the government website Service-public.fr.
Heating oil help
People who heat their homes using oil are also entitled to the chèque énergie exceptionnel opération fioul, depending on their income.
If you normally get an energy cheque each year and used it in 2022 to buy heating oil, you will automatically receive a cheque for €200.
If you use heating oil in your home but did not receive an energy cheque this year, you can apply for aid here.
If you are deemed eligible, you will receive a cheque for €100-€200 depending on your income.
This cheque will be usable with the one-off general energy cheque detailed above.
Read more: Extra €100-€200 state aid planned for French homes using heating oil
Help for replacing oil-fired boilers
Homeowners looking to replace their oil-fired boiler with a more environmentally-friendly alternative can now take advantage of up to €1,500 of additional aid.
Called the ‘Coup de boost fioul’, the measure was announced at the end of October and is available until the end of June 2023.
It applies to installations of heat pumps, biomass boilers, combined solar systems or connections to a heating network supplied mainly by renewable or recovered energy.
The money is provided by the government and supplements the ‘Coup de pouce chauffage’ grant already offered by energy suppliers as part of France’s energy saving certificate scheme (CEE).
The amount available depends on the work to be done and household income.
You will need to select an energy company in the Coup de pouce chauffage scheme and accept the offer from the supplier or its partner.
Only professionals with a status called Reconnu garant de l’environnement (RGE) can carry out the work (a directory is available here).
After the work is finished, homeowners must send supporting documents to the energy company or its partner. This may include invoices and a signed certificate summarising the work.
Read more: How to get additional aid to replace an oil-fired boiler in France
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