Congress endorses regulating the natural gas rate for central heating
The Plenary of Congress has supported with a majority the Royal Decree Law that creates a Regulated rate for neighboring communities with a community natural gas boiler, increases aid for vulnerable families from the electricity social bonus and establishes a new category of beneficiaries for families that earn less than €28,000. As indicated by the Government, this package of measures will involve a total of €3 billion and with them will help the 40% of households to mitigate the impact of skyrocketing energy prices.
Theresa Riverathe Minister for the Ecological Transition, has defended that the tax initiatives and the reduction of regulated costs have palliated by 39% rise in the cost of energy on the final bill between the first half of 2021 and the same period of 2022. According to their data, the cost of the measures adopted since June 2021 to help families is equivalent to €35 billionwhich is equivalent to almost 3% of gross domestic product (GDP). Ribera has also stressed that the Executive knows that “we must not lower our guard” and that “probably the need to pay attention this winter those of the successive winters will be added”.
The decree, which in the absence of a vote will be validated by Congress this afternoon, includes eighteen of the 73 measures of the ‘Plan + security for your energy (+SE)’, extends the limit to the growth of the rate of last resort (TUR) for consumers of less than 50,000 kWh/year (families and SMEs) until December 31, 2023 and gives the possibility to communities of owners to also take advantage of a regulated rate that will reduce the cost of gas consumption by 50% to 1.7 million households.
This TUR 4, which will also be in force until the end of 2023, will cover the equivalent of the average consumption of the community of last five years and, in the case of excesses, a 25% surcharge on the new rate, which will be divided into eight consumption sub-tranches. The community of neighbors will have to install individual meters or cost allocators before October 2023, if they do not want to have a 25% surcharge on the variable term on consumption since the community accepted the TUR.
Increase the discount of the social bonus
Another of the measures is the extension of the discount that the electricity companies make to the 1.3 million beneficiaries of the electricity social bond, so that it will go from the current 60% to 65% for consumers considered vulnerable and from 70% to 80% for severely vulnerable. Together with these measures, the budget is doubled in 2022 and 2023 for the thermal social bonus for vulnerable households, with which the average aid will be doubled to 375 euros for home heating and the minimum will be raised to 40 euroscompared to the current 35 euros.
New category entitled to the social bonus
Within the social bond, a new category of beneficiaries is temporarily created with right to a 40% discount on the invoice, to which 1.5 million people who live alone and earn up to 16,000 euros a year, couples who earn 20,000 euros and families who earn 28,000 may be admitted. On the other hand, the decree simplifies the procedures for the installation of small power generation plants of renewable originauthorizes the deployment of smart meters, increases the efficiency requirements of public lighting and establishes new deductions in personal income tax for works to improve energy efficiency in homes.
Likewise, it obliges companies that want to inform in the invoice of the compensation that is paid to the gas plants for the application of the Iberian mechanism to do so. so as not to mislead. The same decree includes the additional increase of 1.5% of the salaries of public employees to offset the effects of inflation, so that by 2022 the salary increase will be a maximum of 3.5%.
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