The number of Spanish households with fewer economic resources covered by the electricity social bonus has increased by 9% until July, in a year marked by the energy crisis suffered by Europe as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
According to the latest report of the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMV), at the end of last July 656,086 Spanish households had the discount applied to the electricity bill to consumers considered severely vulnerable, with the lowest incomes, compared to 602,202 who received that bonus at the end of 2021.
To these households must be added the 597,452 considered simply vulnerable, including all large families regardless of their income, which benefit from a somewhat lower discount than the severely vulnerable, but which until July have decreased by about 2% compared to the figures at the end of 2021.
If only the data provided by the CNMC on Spanish households with a higher degree of vulnerability are analyzed, 503,440 beneficiaries of the social bonus are family units of up to four members and cohabitants who share a household, while 101,226 are large families with low incomes and 50,167 pensioners.
SOCIAL BONUS REQUIREMENTS
To access the electricity social bonus, households must meet certain maximum annual income requirements, except in the case of large families, which are considered vulnerable consumers regardless of the income they obtain throughout the year.
In the case of severe vulnerable consumers, they cannot exceed 6,000 euros in the case of individual applicants, and 16,212 euros in the case of large families.
For vulnerable consumers, somewhat lower than the poorest households, it is received automatically if it is a large family and, in the case of not being so, the income of the cohabitation unit cannot exceed, as a general rule, 12,000 euros, although this amount increases depending on the number of household members.
From October until December 31, 2023, the poorest households receive an 80% discount on their electricity bill, while the vulnerable have a 65% bonus.
Historically, the discount was 40% in the case of the former, and 25% for the latter, although the Government has increased in recent months the bonus to alleviate the effects that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is having on Spanish families with fewer resources.
EXTENSION OF THE SOCIAL SHIELD
This extension of the coverage of the electricity social bonus has been one of the measures approved by the Government in recent months to strengthen the social shield that protects the most vulnerable families.
In the energy field, in addition to increasing the discount of the social bonus, in October the creation of the “energy justice” bonus was announced, which will be able to accommodate 1.5 million families to enjoy a 40% discount.
This new bonus will be in force until the end of 2023 and can be accessed by households whose income is between 1.5 and 2 times the Multiple Effect Income Indicator (IMPREM) of 14 payments (an adult with an income of less than 16,800 euros or a family of four with an income of less than 27,720 euros).
The budget of the thermal social bonus (which includes gas) for vulnerable households has also been extended, doubling the average aid to 375 euros per household and raising the minimum to 40 euros, compared to the current 35 euros.
As for taxes, the charges and tolls of the electricity bill have been significantly reduced, in addition to having reduced the VAT on both electricity and natural gas to 5%.
On the other hand, the so-called “Iberian mechanism”, which temporarily limits the price of gas for electricity generation, has allowed to contain the escalation of light by about 15% since it was approved last June.
As for the supply of gas, a new regulated gas tariff has been created for neighborhood communities with centralized gas boiler, and the limitation to 15% of the cost applied to the increase in gas prices in the revisions of this tariff (TUR) has been extended, which allows the receipt not to be increased by more than 5% every three months.