Have you noticed a stark rise in the cost of your electricity bill? Perhaps the combination of COVID and a long, cold winter has left you wondering how you’re going to make ends meet? If this sounds all too familiar then the good news is, help is available. Both businesses and individuals may be eligible for discounts of up to 50% off their electricity bills, provided they meet certain criteria. Here’s everything you need to know:
Electricity costs in Spain are sky rocketing: According to Spanish consumer group Facua, the price of electricity has increased by 27 percent so far in 2021. Until the rate changes, and the price of electricity tariffs are reduced, this means that some households in Spain could be paying as much as 19.3 percent more for their monthly electricity bill: and for many households and businesses, this leap in costs is simply unreachable. This year, the increase in the cost of electricity couples with a surge in demand, thanks to the large number of people spending more time at home as a result of the coronavirus crisis, means that the seasonal rise in electricity bills has had a much bigger impact.
For those families that are struggling, the Spanish government offers a benefit called the Bono Social de Electricidad, which is easy to apply for and offers discounts of up to 50%.
Understanding the Bono Social de Electricidad
The Bono Social de Electricidad is a special reduction in electricity tariff, called a social energy tariff, that is applied to businesses and homeowners struggling with the cost of living, who are referred to by the scheme as ‘vulnerable consumers’. To meet the tariff’s criteria you must be:
- A low-income earner, temporarily unemployed (ERTE) or unemployed.
- A business owner who has seen their incomes drop significantly as a result of working reduced business hours because of the current pandemic.
- As a result of the pandemic, individuals who are self-employed and have either had to stop working, or have seen their earnings drop by at least 75% as a result of the current crisis, are also eligible to apply.
In order for your application to be successful, a rather stringent set of criteria applies:
- Firstly, your income cannot be more than €564.90 per month. This is 1.5 times the IPREM, Spain’s social index for deciding who qualifies for benefits and if your income exceeds this, even if you are struggling to pay your electricity bill, sadly you will not be eligible.
- In real terms this means that an individual applicant cannot earn more than €11,862 a year, a family with one child cannot earn more than €15,817 a year, and a family with two children cannot earn more than €19,771 a year.
- If any of the following circumstances apply, the earning threshold will be higher, with the IPREM figure increasing by an addition 0.5 percent. This includes: if yourself or a family member has a disability recognised as being 33 percent or over, if you have been a victim of terrorism or gender violence, if you are responsible for a family member with a dependency level of grade 2 or three, if you are a single parent of a minor, if you hold large family status, and finally if you and all other family members are minimum sum pensioners on Spain’s Social Security System either due to retirement or permanent disability, and do not receive any other type of income.
What Kind of Discounts are Available?
The discounts available for eligible applicants are up to 50 percent, depending on your circumstances and which of the above criteria apply. The good news is that, whatever level of support applies, you will receive a significant discount on your electricity bill:
- Most applicants receive a 25 percent monthly reduction. This applies to those classes as vulnerable consumers (unemployed, workers on an ERTE, business owners and self-employed people with large losses).
- If you are considered to be a severely vulnerable consumer you will receive a 40 percent discount.
- If you are considered to be a consumer at risk of social exclusion, you will receive a 50 percent discount.
Other benefits of receiving the Bono Social de Electricidad discount is that you will receive a much cleaner bill with no hidden extras or small print included, and if you are struggling with unpaid bills then you will have more time to deal with this than you would if you were a regular consumer. What’s more, if you live in a household with a minor or an individual with a severe disability then your electricity supply cannot be interrupted, regardless of whether or not you have paid your electricity bill.
Applying for a Discount on your Electricity Bill
Do you think you’re eligible to receive the Bono Social de Electricidad tariff? Then the first thing you need to do is contact your electricity provider, who will provide you with an application form. You will need to prove that you meet the requirements of a vulnerable consumer via this form, so read and complete it thoroughly.
You’ll need to have contracted the PVPC rate with your company, which means your electrical installation has to be low voltage, with power equal to or less than 10kW and include a digital meter. You’ll also have to provide your name, DNI or NIE, your CUPS Code, (a unique identification code of your electricity supply which is found on your contract or bills), bank details, power contracted and potentially other information relating to your supply.
This support will prove invaluable to many businesses and families during 2021.
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