home Finance, General News Nearly 12 Million French People Struggling to Pay their Gas and Electricity Bills

Nearly 12 Million French People Struggling to Pay their Gas and Electricity Bills

ENERGY: Nearly 6 million households spend more than 10% of their income on their energy costs …

More and more French households are struggling to pay their energy bills. This was the observation made on Tuesday by the National Fuel Poverty Observatory (ONPE) . Nearly 6 million households are thus considered in fuel poverty, that is to say they spend more than 10% of their income on their energy costs in their homes or they declare feeling cold linked to a faulty heating equipment or poor insulation.

In the end, nearly 12 million people would be impacted, and the new proposed energy cheque, that is soon to take effect will not help them all.

Single people or single-parent families mainly cconcerned

“It is a growing phenomenon, despite public policies in place,” said Bruno Lechevin, President of ONPE.
There are two years in the previous edition of this observatory, ONPE considered fuel poverty involved 5.1 million households and about 11.5 million people. Bruno Lechevin explains this trend by rising energy prices , the economic crisis that has made some vulnerable households but also by a better measure of the phenomenon.

Tenants are over-represented, as are single people or single-parent families and households living in existing homes or heating collective.

The energy cheque is not enough

The law on energy transition passed in 2015 established a system for an energy cheque to help low-income households to pay their bills or making energy renovations. Currently at the stage of experimentation, it should benefit nearly 4 million households from 2018,  substituting for social tariffs of electricity and gas .

Its amount will be between 48 and 227 euros per year, for an average of 150 euros, calculated based on income . But it remains below requirements that would be required to end fuel poverty. The Observatory has calculated that only by reducing household energy bills between 526 and 735 euros a year, will end the precarious situation.

Moreover, by itself, this energy cheque will not solve the problem, says the president of the Observatory. “If aid payment of invoices is a necessary urgent action, the fund needs to share the renovation of housing for the precarious households so that they consume less and better,” he says

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