The government measure will raise the discount rates in electricity coupons to up to 60% or 70% until 31 March 2022 and increase this year’s budget for consumers with direct heating benefits.
Royal Executive Decree 23/2021, of 26 October, contains a packet of measures on energy to protect consumers and introduce transparency into wholesale and retail electricity and natural gas markets.
What are electricity coupons?
An electricity coupon is a discount rate on electricity bills.
It is a mechanism for protecting the most vulnerable consumers by providing them with reductions in their electricity bill. Depending on the financial situation and other persons, family and income requirements of each consumer, discounts may range from 25% to 40%. Now they are being extended to 60% or 70% until March 2022.
Who is eligible for these electricity coupons?
To be eligible, the consumer will have to meet the following requirements:
- Having a contract with the PVPC rate (Voluntary Price for Small Consumers), a regulated tariff only offered by reference suppliers, who are legally obliged to offer and fund electricity coupons for electricity at a power equal to or below 10 kW, and which is registered for the dwelling receiving the supply.
- Satisfy personal, family and established-income requirements (vulnerable consumers, severely vulnerable consumers or consumers at risk of exclusion).
- On the other hand, there are conditions that also provide eligibility, such as being a large family, having a disability equal to or above 33% and being a victim of terrorism or gender violence. Individuals who have become pensioners through retirement or a permanent disability receiving minimum benefits may also be eligible.
Others may also be included, depending on type of reduction.
How do you apply for an electricity coupon?
Consumers meeting the above requirements who wish to receive this benefit will have to apply for it from their reference supplier and renew it every two years.
Applications to reference suppliers can be made by telephone, face to face in offices, by post, by email or from the webpage stated in bills.
Which are the new discounts?
Electric coupon regulations establish three categories of users who are eligible for coupons, with different advantages depending on the case.
- Vulnerable consumer. In this case, the discount rate on the bill will be increased from 25% to 60% until 31 March 2022. There are, however, annual kilowatt limits depending on the situation of each case: if there are minors, if the family is large and so on.
- Severely vulnerable consumer. The financial requirements for eligibility are more restrictive, but in this case the discount will be increased from 40% to 70% until 31 March 2022. The same consumed kilowatt limitations will also apply to the coupon.
- Severely vulnerable consumer at risk of social exclusion. These are households in very precarious situations, where the social services intervene: their electricity bills are free.
What are heating benefits?
Unlike electricity coupons, heating benefits are direct subsidies for vulnerable consumers to alleviate energy poverty relating to energy allocated to heating, hot water for sanitary use or cooking.
Anyone entitled to electricity coupons is automatically entitled to heating benefits. There is no need to apply for them and both can therefore be combined. Supplies with benefits are registered on 31 December and have to receive a transfer in the following quarter for the amount that is set depending on the climate zone where the dwelling is located and on the type of vulnerable consumer.
The average amount beneficiaries will receive is 90 euros, although it may be as high as 124 euros in some cases.