People in France who use heating oil in their homes are set to be offered additional support this winter, as prices double over a year.
France’s Public Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal has said that the government is planning to distribute a payment of €100-€200 to 1.4 million households heated by heating oil, or half the total number which use the fuel.
This state support should be sent out in November.
“A litre of heating oil is at €1.55 now. Its price has doubled in one year,” Mr Attal said.
Prix de l'énergie : le gouvernement travaille à une aide pour la moitié des ménages qui se chauffent au fioul, en plus du chèque énergie,"qui irait de 100 à 200 euros et qui serait versée en novembre", annonce Gabriel Attal pic.twitter.com/r1IrKTV9d0— franceinfo (@franceinfo) September 15, 2022
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne already announced earlier this week that regulated gas and electricity tariffs will be capped at a 15% rise in 2023, as opposed to the more than 100% rise they would see without government intervention.
She also said that 12 million lower-income households would receive a chèque énergie worth €100-€200 before the end of the year, to help them cope with the increased prices.
With regards to this energy cheque, Mr Attal said: “We will share the details in a more intelligible manner for everyone and specify the criteria.”
Eligible households will be able to receive both the energy cheque and the heating oil aid, meaning that the lowest income families who use this fuel will get €400 this winter.
The heating oil payment will be the result of a support package voted through Parliament in the summer, putting aside €230million to help people who heat their homes in this way.
The government is still yet to explain what help will be offered to people who heat their homes using wood.
‘We will continue to protect people in France’
“We will reach the peak of inflation in 2023, then it will decline,” Mr Attal said, basing his prediction on “the consensus of global forecasts”, but adding that there is still “uncertainty” linked to the geopolitical situation.
French inflation is expected to reach 4.2% over a year in 2023, which is less than the more than 5% estimated for 2022.
"L'inflation diminuera en 2023, c'est le consensus des hypothèses", affirme Gabriel Attal, ministre de l'Action et des comptes publics, qui évoque des "aléas politiques" comme la guerre en Ukraine pic.twitter.com/5zP1Ff33II— franceinfo (@franceinfo) September 15, 2022
“The surety is that we will continue to protect people in France,” Mr Attal said, adding that the prolonged cap on energy bills will remain in place “as long as the situation remains like this”. However, he acknowledged that he could not say “where we will be by mid-2023”.
“If we did nothing, French people would see their electricity and gas bills increase by 120%. Look at Germany, where electricity and gas bills have risen almost threefold this year.”
The minister also said that the energy price cap will be “honed” for people who live in social housing, where the support does not yet include common areas of apartment blocks.
“People who live in social housing will obviously be covered by the bouclier tarifaire (price cap) on gas and electricity. There is no doubt with regards to that.”
He added that: “suppliers sent out provisional bills to the syndics before we announced the [prolongation of] the bouclier tarifaire.”
Support for businesses
Mr Attal also outlined support for businesses, saying: “Very small firms with a turnover of less than €2million and fewer than 10 employees will be included in the bouclier tarifaire.”
Bigger businesses “which put more than 3% of their turnover towards electricity and gas” will see an exceptional support package of up to €2million.
“We have drastically simplified the criteria,” for this aid, which was already in place this year, Mr Attal said.
Finally, businesses whose work relies on consuming a huge amount of energy, such as aluminium manufacturers, will also see the support available simplified, with packages of up to €50million on the table.
The aim is to prevent “businesses from [having to] stop their activities,” Mr Attal added.
With regards to local authorities, 30,000 of the 36,000 communes in France will benefit from the energy price cap, while the 6,000 largest will receive support covering up to 70% of the increase in costs.
Mr Attal was speaking during an interview with Franceinfo yesterday (September 15).