Home renovation grant scheme MaPrime Rénov, which was recently opened up to more categories of applicants, is experiencing teething problems, says a leading consumer body.
UFC-Que Choisir says the service, run via maprimerenov.gouv.fr, needs to improve if it is to cope with a new influx.
Grants are now available for all income categories of household and for landlords and tenants, and are no longer, as before, restricted to low-income owner-occupiers.
The grants help to pay for work such as insulation, eco-friendly heating or a home energy audit, which must be done by an RGE-accredited firm.
However, UFC-Que Choisir says a union for boiler installers recently raised the alarm over poor management of people’s applications via the site.
It said the main body dealing with them, the renovation agency Anah, is struggling to deal with applications and is sometimes using unqualified contractors.
One installer of heaters said there is also “a big problem with bugs on the site”, with customers often unable to complete applications. “Customers open a dossier but then find they are blocked, or can’t finish the application. They can’t invest without a grant and I can’t advance the funds if I’m not certain to be reimbursed.”
UFC-Que Choisir contacted Anah, which recognised there were problems and said it was working to resolve them.
The government says demand has been rising steeply already, with 1,300 applications a day in November, compared to 500 last January, when the scheme started. It says 135,000 people have so far benefited.
How much you might obtain depends on net household income shown on the revenu fiscal de référence tax statement.
For example, money for a wood pellet boiler or geothermal heat pump is up to €10,000, €8,000, €4,000 or nothing, depending on income. The most well-off households, ie. more than €29,148 for a single person outside Ile-de-France, are eligible for only a limited number of types of work.