Since 2018, the French government has issued annual ‘Chèque Énergie’ (energy cheques) to lower-income households in France. In 2022, to help counteract the rise in energy tariffs and the cost of living, an additional chèque énergie was issued to some 12 million households throughout France. Here’s what you need to know about the chèque énergie, who is eligible, and what to do if you’ve received one.
What is a chèque énergie?
The chèque énergie (energy cheque) is an income-based government aid issued to households in France to contribute towards their energy bills. These cheques are sent out annually to qualifying households in spring (typically late March or April) and can be used to pay electricity, gas, fuel (heating), and other energy (wood, biomass, etc.) bills.
The amount of the cheques vary based on your income, with the minimum amount at €48 including VAT and the maximum at €277 including VAT.
Who is eligible for a chèque énergie in France?
Around 5.8 million households throughout France qualify for the annual chèque énergie, which is calculated based on your income and the number of people living in your household. Households earning less than €10,800 per unité de consommation or UC (energy consuming units, calculated based on the number of people living in your house) are eligible to receive the cheque.
To find out whether you are eligible, you take your Revenue fiscal de référence (RFR) – your total taxable income, which you’ll find on your most recent avis d’imposition (tax notice) – and divide it by the UC. Note that, similar to calculating your taxable household, this isn’t simply the number of people in your household. Instead, it is calculated accordingly:
1 person (i.e. a single person living alone) = 1 UC
2 people (i.e. a couple living together) = 1.5 UC
3 people or more (i.e. a couple living together with 1 or more children) = 1.5 UC (2 people) + 0.3 UC for each additional person.
You can see a full breakdown of the chèque énergie calculations here.
How do I apply for a chèque énergie?
Energy cheques are issued automatically based on your tax declarations from the previous year—you don’t need to apply for one. Eligible households will be sent their chèque énergie annually by mail, typically in late March or April.
What additional chèque énergies are available for 2022-2023?
In response to the rising cost of living and, in particular, rising energy tariffs, the government announced at the end of 2022 that it would also be issuing a chèque énergie exceptionnel (a one-off energy cheque). The chèque énergie exceptionnel would be in addition to the annual chèque énergie received in spring and would also be issued to a further six million households – a total of 12 million households.
The additional energy cheque is also calculated based on your household income, but this time there are two eligible bands. Households earning less than €10,800 per UC are entitled to a one-off cheque for the value of €200, and households earning between €10,800 and €17,400 will receive a one-off cheque for the value of €100. Cheques are being sent out over an eight-week period from December 2022 through January 2023.
What about the additional wood and fuel heating cheques?
Finally, two additional chèque énergies were made available in 2022. These additional cheques are specifically for households that use wood burners or fuel (oil) as their main source of heating. The cheques are also means-tested and are available for around 1.6 million households (fuel) and 2.6 million households (wood). To qualify for these cheques, you may need to apply – see below for details.
Note that it is possible to receive all three cheques if you meet the eligibility criteria.
How to receive France’s chèque énergie for wood heaters
If you have already received a chèque énergie in 2022 and used this to pay your wood heating, then you may have already been issued this additional cheque automatically. If not, you have until 30 April 2023 to apply for the cheque, known as a chèque exceptionnel « opération bois» which you can do online here.
How to receive France’s chèque énergie for fuel heaters
If you have already received a chèque énergie in 2022 and used this to pay your fuel heating, then you may have already been issued this additional cheque automatically. If not, you have until 31 March 2023 to apply for the cheque, known as a chèque exceptionnel « opération fioul » which you can do online here.
How do I use my chèque énergie?
The energy cheque is not a bank cheque and cannot be exchanged for cash or credit – instead, it must be used to pay or contribute towards your energy bills with a valid supplier. To use your cheque, the easiest option is to register it online at: chequeenergie.gouv.fr.
Under the section « J’ai reçu un chèque énergie » (I’ve received an energy cheque) click « Utiliser mon chèque en ligne cette année » (Use my energy cheque online this year) and follow the steps below. You will need to enter the details of your energy provider, including your contract number and client reference number. You can find this on your energy bill or online in your espace client.
If you receive annual energy cheques, you can also opt to assign them automatically to one of your energy providers, saving you from going through this process each year. To do this, click « Attribuer automatiquement mon prochain chèque énergie à un fournisseur »
How long do I have to use my energy cheque?
A standard chèque énergie is typically valid until March 31st of the following year, and the validity date (fin de validité) will be clearly written on the cheque.
What should I do if I haven’t received my chèque énergie?
If you think you are eligible for an energy cheque and haven’t received it, you can check your eligibility (vérifier mon éligibilité) and check the mailing calendar at chequeenergie.gouv.fr.
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