France’s government has begun to send out one-off energy bill cheques of either €100 or €200 to people on lower incomes who heat their homes using heating oil.
Payments began on Monday (November 7), and concern 1.6 million of the three million French households which use this type of fuel in their houses.
Who will benefit?
This aid is reserved for households whose revenu fiscal de référence (taxable income) is less than €20,000 per unité de consommation.
A unité de consommation is calculated as follows:
First person in the household = one unit
Second person in the household = 0.5 units
Additional people in the household = 0.3 units
Households with a revenu fiscal de référence of less than €10,800 per unit will receive €200, while those with an income of more than €10,800 but less than €20,000 will get €100.
In this way, a single person with a dependent child who earns the French minimum wage (Smic) would receive €200, while a single person on the same income living alone would be paid €100.
You can find out more about how eligibility is calculated on this government website.
How is the cheque being paid?
Households that already received a chèque énergie (energy cheque) in 2022 and used it to pay for heating oil will automatically receive the new payment by the end of this month.
If your household is eligible but you did not receive an energy cheque this year, you should go to this energy transition ministry website and fill in the attached form.
You will need to provide a heating oil bill from the last 18 months to prove that you qualify. You will then receive the payment next month.
If you are on a collective heating oil plan, you can fill in this form.
The heating oil cheque cannot be used to gain money back on previous bills, but instead can be applied to any future energy bill, including electricity, gas and wood pellets.
This means that those who have already filled up their oil tank for the winter will still be able to benefit from the state support.
The cheque will remain valid until March 31, 2024.
Heating oil bills can also be used in conjunction with the exceptional chèques énergie of €100-€200 being sent out to 12 million lower income households this winter.
In order to encourage people to replace polluting oil or gas boilers with more eco-friendly heating systems, the government offers various financial incentives, including the MaPrimeRénov grant.
Read more: Explained: How to apply for a renovation grant for your French home
Help for households using wood for heating
This comes as France’s Assemblée nationale adopts a €230million package for people who heat their homes using wood, whether logs or pellets.
This measure still needs to be passed by the Sénat.
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