New energy cheque in France: you may need to apply this year

An estimated one million eligible households will not receive the cheque automatically for ‘technical reasons’

A view of someone holding an ‘exceptional’ cheque energie
This year some eligible households will have to apply for their energy cheque rather than receive it automatically
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Many households in France will need to apply for an energy cheque (chèque énergie) this year as it is not being sent out automatically as previously to all eligible homes for ‘technical reasons,’ the government has said.

The economy ministry stated this week: “For technical reasons linked to the abolition of the taxe d'habitation, new households, such as students or young workers, or households whose income has fallen in 2022 compared with 2021, may not receive the energy cheque to which they are entitled.”

Read more: Explainer: France’s taxe d’habitation property tax

Consumer association CLCV has estimated that up to one million households may be affected.

What is the chèque énergie?

It is financial aid from the government to help less well-off households to pay for their higher heating bills over the colder winter months - whether by gas, electricity, heating oil, or wood. Around five million homes benefitted last year.

The 2024 cheques will be distributed in May this year. Most eligible households will receive their money automatically before the end of that month.

Who is eligible for this cheque?

The cheque is means-tested and there are income caps.

Households which received energy cheques in 2023 will have to comply with the limits in force last year, and have a reference tax income (RFR, on their last income tax return) per consumption unit (CU) of less than €11,000.

‘CU’ refers to the number of ‘units’ in your household. The first person counts as one unit, the second as 0.5, and any additional person as 0.3. This means that a household with two adults and two children would equate to 2.1 CUs. For this household to get the cheque, the household's RFR must not exceed €23,100.

You can find our RFR on your 2022 tax notice, calculated from your 2021 income. To calculate your income per CU, divide your RFR by the number of units in your household.

For the estimated one million new eligible households this year, your 2023 income tax return based on your 2022 income will be taken as proof. Five million households already benefit from the cheque.

You can check whether you will be eligible with this government simulator, which will ask for your numéro fiscal tax number.

How much is the energy cheque for?

The amount varies between €48-277, with an average amount of €150. The amount has not changed since 2019. This has been criticised by the CLCV, which has said “the 2024 energy cheque will not even cover the rises for the year”.

Electricity bills in France have risen by up to 9.8% in February.

Read more: SEE: Most French electricity bills to rise by 9.8% in February

What if I am eligible but I do not receive a cheque?

If, by the end of May, you have not received a cheque but you believe you are entitled to the aid, you can apply online.

The ministry said that it will put in place a “simple claim counter” that will allow people to apply for the aid. This online service has not yet gone live, but the ministry said it would be ready by the end of May.

This article explains how you can use the cheque if you receive one: How do I make use of my French chèque énergie voucher?

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