Tenants of low-cost housing buildings will soon be able to reduce their heating bills by using the energy voucher, an operation that was not possible until now, Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said on Wednesday.
The minister, questioned by the deputy and national secretary of the Communist Party Fabien Roussel, described as "aberration" the fact that residents of social housing can use this annual cheque of up to nearly 280 euros to pay for their electricity "but not for their heating charges".
To put an end to this "unacceptable" situation, Agnès Pannier-Runacher said that she had tabled an amendment to the 2024 finance bill on Monday, at Matignon's request: "we will (...) to the end the fact that this energy voucher can allow the inhabitants of low-income housing to reduce their energy bill through a reduction in their charges," the minister assured during the session of questions to the government.
Distributed since 2018, the energy voucher is paid once a year in the spring
"One million households are affected" by this anomaly, according to Fabien Roussel. This cheque, which varies in amount from €48 to €277 and concerns some 5.8 million households, is automatically sent by post to the 20% of the poorest households.
Distributed since 2018, the energy voucher is paid once a year in the spring. At the end of 2022, an exceptional cheque of €100 to €200 was added for 12 million households.
In addition, and also means-tested, a fuel voucher of 100 to 200 euros, a subsidy of 50 to 200 euros for those heating with wood and a fuel allowance of 100 euros for low-income workers have also been announced since the end of 2022.
The government also limited the increase in electricity sales rates to 15% in 2023, up from 4% in 2022. If the tariff shield on electricity and gas, discounts at the pump or the energy voucher allowed France to post the lowest inflation rate in the euro zone last year, these measures represent a net cost of nearly 43 billion euros over two years.