OOil heating owners in France can look forward to money from the state in November. Around 1.6 million households will benefit. That’s just over half of all French people with oil boilers. In the coming weeks, government checks for between 100 and 200 euros will end up in their mailboxes.
Who receives how much depends on the taxable income in the year before last and the number of people in the household. The check can be cashed when paying a bill from the utility company. It is automatically sent to all those households that have already paid a heating oil bill with a government check in the past; everyone else has to apply for it online.
Energy checks are nothing new in France. Since 2018, the state has been sending them out by post every spring to around six million of the poorest households in an unbureaucratic manner. This spring he donated between 48 and 277 euros and an average of 150 euros, the exact amount is determined, as with the oil heating cheque, on the taxable income and the size of the household. The checks can be redeemed with the supplier regardless of what you heat with.
Much more complicated in Germany
While Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) recently referred to IT difficulties that stand in the way of direct money transfers to citizens, there are no technical problems in France. In the current energy crisis, the government in Paris has therefore increased the number of checks distributed. As early as last December, there was a special check of 100 euros for the around six million poorest households.
Around twelve million households are to receive a special check next December. EUR 200 is planned for all income earners up to EUR 10,800 and EUR 100 to EUR 17,400 annually, with the limit values increasing for each additional person in the household.
In addition, at the turn of the year 2021/2022, the government had distributed a one-time payment of 100 euros “inflation compensation” to around 38 million citizens. Employees received the money from their employer via payroll, the self-employed, pensioners and the unemployed from their responsible social security fund.
“Big Risks of Fraud”
In Germany, the relief is much more complicated. After three packages with heating cost subsidies for housing benefit recipients, a 9-euro ticket for local public transport and a 300-euro energy flat rate for employees and pensioners, the cabinet wants to decide on the first part of the 200-billion-euro “defense shield” this Wednesday.
In December, gas customers should not have a monthly advance payment debited from their supplier – if the federal government manages to transfer the money to the suppliers in good time beforehand. Tenants should receive relief from the utility bill for 2022, i.e. in the course of the coming year.
Regarding the question of whether the French check model could not be a model for Germany, the Ministry of Finance stated: “The support of needy households by check is not planned in Germany. On the one hand, checks are not a common means of payment in Germany, payments are usually made by SEPA transfer or are collected by direct debit. On the other hand, paying out by check involves a high risk of fraud.”
The letters with the checks are easy to recognize because of the official sender and could be stolen before delivery.
The state bears the losses
In Paris, on the other hand, the motto is speed before thoroughness. This is shown by the interventions in pricing on the energy markets, which took place early and boldly. The state-regulated gas tariff, which French households can claim, has been frozen since October 2021. The state bears the losses on the supply side. The same applies to the regulated electricity tariff, the increase in which has been capped at 4 percent since February.
For 2023, the “price tag” à la française, under which small businesses can also slip in the future, provides for a 15 percent increase in gas and electricity prices. It should cost around 44 billion euros.
According to Finance and Economics Minister Bruno Le Maire, if you deduct the income from the EU-wide skimming off of profits and the repayment of subsidies from green electricity producers, it should be around 16 billion euros. He recently spoke of 100 billion euros that had been made available to cushion inflation.