Utrecht to give hundreds of euros to low income households for energy bills
From end-March, the municipality of Utrecht will give low-income households 200 euros per month in compensation for their high energy bills. Welfare recipients in the city will receive the amount in their bank account automatically. Families with an income of less than 125 percent of minimum wage who don't receive welfare benefits will be able to apply for the compensation at a later date, the Utrecht mayor and aldermen said in a letter to the city council.
"Energy prices are rising very fast, and more and more residents are paying a new, much more expensive rate due to the expiry of set contracts. The distressing situations are increasing," the mayor and aldermen said. "That is why the municipality - in anticipation of support from the central government - wants to start paying out the 200 euros compensation at the end of March." The scheme will run until at least August.
Along with the amount in their bank account, welfare recipients will also receive a letter explaining why they received the extra money. The letter will also include information on applying for an energy box and where to find debt- and other assistance if they need help.
Utrecht residents who end up in financial trouble despite the 200 euros compensation can apply to get the difference between their old and new energy bills reimbursed. "This will be widely communicated among the professionals in the city."
The city of Utrecht will continue to urge the central government to come up with a structural solution to energy poverty, the mayor and aldermen said. "Because its scope and impact are increasing all the time." The Russia-Ukraine war is also pushing energy prices. "This, coupled with strong inflation, means that many households cannot bear their rising costs any longer."