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France’s one-off €100 energy grant for low-income households

In response to rising energy prices, the French government is set to announce that 5.8 million households will receive additional help towards their bills in December. Here's who qualifies.

France's one-off €100 energy grant for low-income households
Photo: DAMIEN MEYER / AFP.

Prime Minister Jean Castex is expected to announce the measure on Thursday during a visit to Chilly-Mazarin in the Essonne département, according to reports in the French press.

The €100 grant will be destined for the 5.8 million households which are already eligible for the chèques énergie (energy checks) scheme, an annual payment of between €48 and €277 which helps low-income households with their gas and electricity bills. You can find out whether you qualify here.

According to reports, those who already receive the chèque énergie have nothing to do: the additional payment will arrive automatically via the post some time in December.

The chèque énergie scheme is open to all France residents – not just French citizens – whose income is below a certain level, but you will need to sign up on the link above if you are not already registered and think that you may qualify.

READ ALSO Food and fuel prices in France behind rise in cost of living

The move comes as millions of people in France are feeling the effects of rising energy prices. Tariffs for household gas rose by an eye-watering 8.7 percent on September 1st. That represents an increase of 2.7 percent for households which use gas for cooking, 5.5 percent for those who have dual use, cooking and hot water, and 9 percent for households that have gas central heating.

Already in August, energy prices overall were 12.7 percent higher than the previous year. The rise has been blamed on an increase in global demand linked to the economic recovery.

The “one-off” cheque will allow people to “get through this circumstantial stage of price rises,” government sources told BFM.

Housing charity Fondation Abbé-Pierre welcomed the news, but called it a “sticking plaster” rather than a long-term solution. “On average, people spend €1,600, €1,700, €1,800 per year on heating,” the foundation’s general representative, Christophe Robert, told franceinfo.

“We’ve been seeing increases of this kind for several years now. It’s no longer acceptable for poor households, for all modest households. They’re having to make sacrifices, financially, to heat their homes, or they’re no longer heating them at all.”

Member comments

  1. Will there be money for those of us who heat their homes with wood? Gas heating is for the urbanites, whereas wood is prevalent in the majority of rural homes, electricity being far too expensive.

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TRAVEL NEWS

How you to save money travelling by train in France

Travelling by train is one of the best ways to see France, as well as being better for the planet than flying or driving. However, train tickets don't always come cheap - here is a current list of the railcards and offers that can cut the cost.

How you to save money travelling by train in France

Railcards are the most common way to cut the cost of a ticket. In some cases, the card can even pay for itself in one journey. France’s rail operator SNCF has a range of cards available for everyone from impoverished students to regular business travellers with an expenses account to burn.

But if you’re not a regular traveller there are also a range of offers plus cheaper services to opt for.

READ ALSO Millions of train tickets go on sale in France for Christmas holidays

Liberté card

This one’s really for business travellers, who use the TGV or Ouigo and Intercite trains regularly. And it comes with a price to match – €399 for a year (€379 for anyone lucky enough to work for a company that is part of SNCF’s Contrat Pro plan). 

Holders can enjoy fixed, destination-based fares for business travel in France and beyond, with a card that guarantees cardholders 60 percent off SNCF’s Business Première fares when travelling standard class, and 45 percent off Business Première fares when travelling 1st class. 

Plus, there’s 30 percent off for you and an accompanying adult plus 60 percent off for accompanying children with SNCF’S Avantage fare.

Max Senior

Regular rail travellers aged 60 and over, who use TGV, InOui or Intercite trains at least twice a month can take advantage of this €79-per-month railcard that covers the cost of all standard-class travel outside peak hours from Monday to Friday.

The card is valid for all routes in France and to Luxembourg and Freiburg im Breisgau. You can use the card to book tickets from 30 days before departure right up to the last minute.

READ ALSO Yes, train travel from France across Europe is far better than flying – even with kids

Avantage Senior

Those aged 60 and over who travel by rail less regularly can buy a €49 Avantage Senior card that offers 30 percent discounts on first and standard-class travel on TGV INOUI, Intercités or TER trains for a year.

It also offers a 60 percent discount on tickets for up to three accompanying children aged between 4 and 11.

Standard class fares are capped for all destinations in France, no matter when they are booked – at €39 for a journey of less than 90 minutes, €59 for a journey of between 90 minutes and three hours, and €79 for journeys over three hours.

Max Jeune

A similar offer to the Max Senior deal is available for regular rail users aged between 16 and 27 who use TGV, InOui or Intercite trains at least twice a month. This key difference is that this €79-per-month railcard covers the cost of all standard-class travel outside peak hours seven days a week.

The card is valid for all routes in France and to Luxembourg and Freiburg im Breisgau. You can use the card to book tickets from 30 days before departure right up to the last minute.

READ ALSO UPDATED: The best websites for cross-Europe train travel

Avantage Jeune

Those aged 12 to 27 who travel by rail less regularly can buy a €49 Avantage Jeune card that offers 30 percent discounts on first and standard-class travel on TGV INOUI, Intercités or TER trains for a year.

Standard class fares are capped for all destinations in France, no matter when they are booked – at €39 for a journey of less than 90 minutes, €59 for a journey of between 90 minutes and three hours, and €79 for journeys over three hours.

Max Actif and Max Actif+

The Mon Forfait Annuel Télétravail pass is basically a season ticket, but for people who don’t travel every day. It’s ideal for part-time or remote workers, but can be used by anyone who has semi-regular train trips. 

Anyone who travels between two and three times a week on the same route can buy a Max Actif pass and travel 250 or times on the same line all year, weekdays only. The Max Actif + is basically the same, but for people who travel four to five times a week, and gives 450 journeys with no weekday limit.

Prices vary depending on the route you travel – full details are here

Weekly or monthly rail cards

Speaking of season tickets, you can also buy first or standard class rail cards that last a month or a week that allow unlimited daily travel, and tickets for €1.50 or less (via SNCF Connect or Trainline) for single or national routes.

Avantage Adult

For anyone aged between 27 and 59, a €49 Avantage Adulte card offers 30 percent discounts on first and standard-class travel on TGV INOUI, Intercités or TER trains for a year.

It also offers a 60 percent discount on tickets for up to three accompanying children aged between 4 and 11.

Standard class fares are capped for all destinations in France, no matter when they are booked – at €39 for a journey of less than 90 minutes, €59 for a journey of between 90 minutes and three hours, and €79 for journeys over three hours.

For more information on railcards available in France, click here

READ ALSO Tourists and locals: Paris Metro tickets, passes and apps explained

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