Since the entry into force of the Voluntary Price to Small Consumer Rate, some aspects have been affected, as is the case of the requirements and benefits of the social bond of light. If you can not take it, below we show you the cheapest rates of electricity:
What is the social electricity bonus?
The latest changes in the energy sector drives us crazy to the majority of consumers. With the arrival of the PVPC regulated tariff, the bases that configured the social bond of light as we knew it are recycled. But what is this product?
The social bond of light is the name that receives the help offered by the Government to curb energy poverty in Spain. Its first version was introduced in our system in 2009 freezing the price of electricity. However, in 2017 a discount of up to 40% is made on the PVPC regulated tariff after its approval in October.
Now, after the time given by the Ministry of Energy for families to renew their bonus, only 343 thousand have done so . For example, of the 860 thousand customers receiving this aid in Iberdrola, the marketer has only received the request for 186 thousand. More significant is the case of Endesa, in which of the 917 thousand subscribers, only 134,771 have requested its renewal. The case of Gas Natural Fenosa and EDP does not differ. The first has only 12,700 applications (compared to the current 400 thousand subscribers) and 9,800 (of 56 thousand received the social bond of light).
The reason for this drop in the requests may be the lack of information. Therefore, some electricity companies like Iberdrola are campaigning to remember the status of the social bond . In any case, we will have to see if this last push works or more than one family gets a good scare on their next electricity bill.
Who can ask for the help of the electricity rate?
With the change in the system that Minister Nadal proposed in 2016, the social bonus can only be requested by people who receive the PVPC regulated rate who are in one of these situations:
- Large families.
- Pensioners: both retired, and with a permanent disability.
- Family units with a low income.
With this new reform, those households with powers below 3 kW and families that have all their members unemployed are left out. Now, in compensation a new variable to be taken into account is introduced: rent. In this way, it is expected that the most vulnerable households can benefit from different grants based on their income . Specifically, we would be talking about discounts until the total payment of bills , so that no family in a situation of limit runs out of electricity at home.
In order to establish the limits, up to four types of consumers will be established:
- The normal : any user with an electricity tariff that has no problems in the payment of their bills.
- The vulnerable : you can benefit from a 25% discount on the electricity bill.
- The severe vulnerable: the discount will go up to 40%.
- One at risk of energy poverty : your case will be controlled by social services and will prevent you from running out of electricity. In this case the help will be up to 50% discount on the electricity bill.
Limitations of the social bond of light
One of the novelties of the new version of the bonus aid is that it has limitations. For example, from now on, the marketers will have to notify us of the defaults of our invoices in a maximum of two months . This condition hopes to avoid debts accumulating and being a real problem. In the same vein, light companies will be required to inform beneficiaries that moving their contract to the free market means losing their right to aid . This decision is extremely important, since it has detected more than one case in which the sales company on shift has moved its customers from the subsidiary of last resort to the free market subsidiary without prior notice.
In the case of consumers, the main limitation that we will find lies in consumption. Unlike what happened until now, with the new social bonus of light will establish a maximum kWh , looking for responsible consumption.
Finally, in the specific case of vulnerable consumers, the deadline for suspending the electricity supply is extended . Specifically, it will pass from two to four months after the non-payment has been made.
How can I know if my income is low
One of the new variables that are taken into account in order to benefit from this help is income, but how can we know how it is calculated? Now that we can find the information in the BOE, we discover that the Multiple Effective Income Public Indicator (IPREM) will be taken as reference. In this way, they calculate the threshold according to:
- A single person or family unit without children: 1.5 times the IPREM (798.77 euros / month in 14 payments).
- Family unit with a minor child: 2 times the IPREM (1067.20 euros / month in 14 payments).
- Families with two children: 2.5 times the IPREM (1331.28 euros / month with 14 payments).
In addition to these calculations, the threshold will be increased by 0.5 the IPREM if there is a member with a disability of 33% in the home, is a victim of gender violence or terrorism.
On the other hand there is a last group that can benefit from superior help. In this case, the rent must be less than 50% of the thresholds indicated above . It is, in short, what is collected as “severe vulnerable consumers”.
Where is the social light bonus requested?
If we are in any of the groups that can benefit from this rate, we should only ask our light trader to apply it to us . This can be done through any of the lines of communication that the company has (internet, telephone or postal mail). Normally, as soon as we get in touch, they will inform us of the documentation we must provide to confirm our situation.
Of course, we must bear in mind that the social bond of electricity is only offered by the reference marketers, so we must ensure that we have the light contracted with one of these companies:
- Gas Natural SUR, SDG.
- EDP Comercializadora de Último Recurso, SA
- Endesa Energía XXI, SLU
- E.ON Comercializadora de Último Recurso, SL
- Iberdrola Comercialización de Último Recurso, SAU
In addition, it is only for customers who are in the regulated market , so if we have a free market rate we must make the change to a reference company that applies the PVPC.
Renewal or cessation of aid
The social bond of light is applied for 2 years and, if our situation has not changed, we can return to benefit. Of course, in the case of large families is reviewed regularly every time the card that accredits the family unit expires.
Up until now it has been usual for us to consider renovation in case our situation changes, for example if a member of the family unit gets a job, we can no longer accept this method . However, with the change of model, it is essential to review if today we comply with the premises to request it. For this we have six months (until April 10, 2018) . In the event that we continue to benefit from the aid without being able to do so, the company may penalize us.
* UPDATE: finally, after the lack of requests for renewal of the social bond of electricity, the Government has decided to extend the deadline for requesting it by another six months. In this way, customers who can benefit from this help will have until October to process it.
The penalty for non-compliance is not a turkey moque. To be exact, the marketer will recalculate the cost of the invoices for the months that we have been benefiting from the light bonus by now applying the cost of the PVPC (without the discount) and, in addition, there will be a 10% fine surcharge . In short, a good scare for your pocket.
But do not panic, if we get our situation better we can continue to save thanks to time-honored rates or other personalized plans that are becoming fashionable in the Free Market.
Bonus chronology: changes and attempts to improve
For those who are not very aware of energy issues, the social bonus is an aid that formerly frozen the price of electricity for those groups with a more complicated economic situation. However, with the entry into force of the Voluntary Price for the Small Consumer Rate, it changed a bit. The new proposal no longer frozen the price, but instead made a 25% discount on the invoice to:
- Large families
- Domestic units with all their members unemployed
- Pensioners (from 60 years old) with minimum benefits both for retirement and for widowhood or permanent disability
- Persons with a light output of less than 3 kW
Despite the fact that Spain was not experiencing its best times and unemployment remained high, in 2015 only 3% benefited from this help . Similarly, the rest of groups that could benefit from the social bonus of light also fell. To be more exact, during 2015 the number of users who benefited from this aid fell to 2.45 million, 18% less than in 2009 when it was implemented.
At the end of 2016, a new reform was proposed for this social assistance. Specifically, a change that affects the profiles of consumers who may request it , as well as its financing. After weeks of uncertainty, this new model has been approved and now the family income will be the value to take into account to be able to request it.