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.
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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.”