According to ECO, the new notice from the Energy Efficiency Vouchers program, an Environmental Fund program that aims to distribute subsidies for private investment in energy efficiency solutions, will triple the amount available to each beneficiary.

In other words, each eligible family will be able to receive up to three vouchers worth 1,300 euros for three types of intervention, with a view to improving energy efficiency conditions in their homes. Applications open on the 20th of November and run until 5:59 pm on the 31st of October, 2024 “or earlier, if the allocation is exhausted”, as stated in the regulation under consultation.

“We managed to resolve the main obstacles from the first warning ”, said the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate, Ana Fontoura, during a session dedicated to the topic.

According to the government official, the first warning “fell short” of the expected objectives, which was the main reason that led to the “in-depth” review of this incentive.

According to the Secretary of State, the first notice, which began on the 5th of August, 2021, had an allocation of 160 million euros and provided for the allocation of 100 thousand vouchers. In total, 23 thousand applications were submitted, with 16 thousand vouchers being awarded. However, only 9,600 vouchers were used, “mainly [to replace] windows, heat pumps and photovoltaic systems”, explained Ana Fontoura.

Although the person responsible for Energy highlights that the value “is a good result”, having allowed “9,600 families to live in better conditions in terms of thermal comfort”, “it falls short of the initial ambition”.

Thus, in the next notice, those who apply for support, considered by the Government as “a central instrument for combating energy poverty in economically vulnerable families”, will be able to receive up to three supports worth 1,300 euros to improve the energy efficiency of their housing. Permitted interventions include replacing windows with more efficient models, reinforcing thermal insulation, installing cooling and heating equipment and photovoltaic panels.

In addition to tripling the number of vouchers allocated to each beneficiary, the Secretary of State added that other aspects of the program were improved, including the eligibility criteria, “in order to cover more families”.

In the first notice, only families covered by the social electricity tariff (around 700 thousand beneficiaries) could apply, but in the next notice, all families with at least one member of the household benefiting from minimum social benefits will be eligible to apply.

Furthermore, conditions for suppliers were improved, “because we know they want to participate in the program”. According to Ana Fontoura, 20% of the intervention value will be advanced to suppliers by attracting vouchers, with payment deadlines also being extended. “These two changes, and the increase in the maximum ceiling, will make this type of interventions more attractive”, assures Ana Fontoura.

The review of the Efficiency Vouchers program had already been advanced by the Secretary of State for Energy herself. In Parliament, Ana Fontoura told deputies that the Government was “perfectly aware that the unit value did not allow for appropriate interventions to effectively reduce situations of energy poverty ”, at the same time that it was not “attractive enough” for suppliers.