The government has laid out the terms of eligibility and validity of the exceptional chèque énergie (energy cheque) for this winter. The first amounts are due to be sent out during the Christmas holidays.
Here we recap the measures intended to cope with the rising costs of gas and electricity as well as the heating oil allowance and aid for those who heat their homes with wood.
Twelve million households concerned
Since spring 2018, an ‘energy cheque’ has been distributed annually to some six million lower-income households.
This year, an extra cheque will also be sent automatically from the end of this month.
This will go to around 12 million households, which represents more than one in three homes. The sending of this “exceptional” bonus will be spread over a period of about eight weeks, the ministry of energy transition announced.
Amount of €100 to €200
The total to be paid is set at €200 for households whose annual taxable income (revenu fiscal de référence) per person unit (unité de consommation) is less than €10,800.
It will be €100 for households whose annual taxable income per person unit is greater than or equal to €10,800, and less than €17,400.
The first adult in a household corresponds to a person unit, national statistics institute INSEE states. The other persons aged 14 or over count for half a unit, and those under 14 for 0.3 units.
Valid until 2024
Energy suppliers are required to accept this exceptional energy cheque in payment until March 31, 2024 and it can be presented for reimbursement until May 31, 2024, states the decree bringing it into law.
Faced with soaring electricity and gas costs, the government took stock of the state of energy resources at a highly anticipated press conference in September, and announced the new bouclier tarifaire (price cap) keeping electricity and gas price rises to 15% from February and January respectively, along with aid for businesses in the months to come.
Without the price cap, the increase should have been 120%, according to France’s Finance Ministry.
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has outlined the actions taken by the government to "ensure that there will be enough gas and electricity this winter for people in France."
"We have accelerated the filling of our gas stocks, which is now 95%", but also "increased the import capacity of LNG terminals" and "strengthened and diversified gas supplies from other countries", while accelerating "renewable energy projects".
This extra cheque can be used alongside the aids below if you are eligible.
Help for wood and wood pellet heating
French people who heat with wood and/or wood pellets will be able to benefit from a state aid ranging from €50 to €200, under income conditions, which they will be able to request from December 22. This amounts to €230million for households heating with wood.
"All you have to do is log on to the https://chequeenergie.gouv.fr website and enter your ‘télédeclarant’ tax number and your bill.
“People in France who earn up to €2,260 / month for a single person and up to €4,750 for a couple with two children will be able to access it. The help will range from €50 to €200", government minister Gabriel Attal said in an interview with The Parisien.
Oil heating boost
In November a heating oil (fioul) cheque was paid to lower-income households. This aid, ranging from €100 to €200, was intended for households which were not able to benefit from other income shields put in place by the government. Around three million homes in France use this form of heating.
The cheque is valid for one year and amounts to €200 for households earning less than €10,800 per year per person unit (i.e. when the income of an adult in the household, once the burden represented by minors is deducted, does not exceed €10,800 per year, according to INSEE's calculation).
The aid is €100 for households earning between €10,800 and €20,000 per year per consumption unit.
It should have been sent automatically to people who receive the standard cheque énergie but otherwise people should apply via this link chequefioul
To find out more and to report that you have not received this aid if you believe you are eligible see chèque énergie
Tens of thousands in France sign up to EDF energy saving Tempo plan
Electricity, gas, wood, oil: do you qualify for heating aid in France?
How cold will this week be and where is snow expected in France?