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IN 2009, Spain approved the electricity social rate ('Bono Social'), a discount regulated by the government mainly aimed at protecting financially vulnerable groups.
In reality, it is a 25% or 40% discount on a specific tariff known as ‘Precio Voluntario para el Pequeño Consumidor’ (PVPC), or voluntary small consumer price.
This discount could represent an annual saving of more than ¤ 200 for the average consumer.
Despite it being launched over eight years ago, there are still doubts concerning who can apply for it, particularly since the criteria changed in October 2017 with a new Royal Decree.
The social rate is aimed at protecting households classed as ‘vulnerable’, ie those on a low pension, large families or families with very low income. The government‘s October 2017 Royal Decree changed the requirements necessary to benefit from the social rate to include victims of terrorist attacks, those with disabilities and victims of domestic violence.
The new social rate has three different categories, each with a corresponding discount percentage, ranging from 25 to 40%.
Who is entitled to the new social rate?
In order to benefit from the social rate, you must have the PVPC electricity tariff (with or without time restriction) and a contracted power equivalent to or below 10 kW in your usual residence.
With the PVPC tariff system, the prices of electricity can change every hour according to the progress of the electricity market. In other words, the amount payable on your bill depends on factors such as climate (if it is windy or sunny) or energy demands.
In addition, you will need to fulfil certain requirements in order to be classed as a vulnerable customer, a severely vulnerable customer, or a severely vulnerable customer at risk of social exclusion.
However, basically you must fall under one of these categories: pensioner, large family or a low-income family.
What are the requirements?
Vulnerable customers (benefitting from a 25% discount on electricity bills) are considered to be anyone holding a PVPC contract that fulfils any of the following requirements. Their total annual income must be less than or equivalent to the following limits:
- If you are not part of a family unit or there are no underage children in it: 1.5 times the IPREM*: €11,279.
- If there is a minor in the family unit: 2 times the IPREM*: €15,039.
- If there are two underage children in the family unit: 2.5 times the IPREM*: €18,799.
All these thresholds will be increased by 0.5%of the IPREM* if a member of the family has a disability level above or equivalent to 33%, or if they are a victim of domestic violence or terrorism.
- Pensioners: the applicant (or if there is a family unit, all the members of the same) re- ceive the minimum pension from the Spanish social security system (through retirement or permanent disability).
- Large families with at least three children: all without exception. They must have the large family card (título de familia numerosa).
Severely vulnerable customers
Customers are classed as severely vulnerable (discount of 40% on electricity bills):
Due to their income: those who meet the requirements to be considered vulnerable customers and also have income levels below 50% of the limits established for vulnerable customers.
- Pensioners: all the members of a family unit are pensioners within the social security system, receiving a minimum pension (through retirement or permanent disability), and their annual income is less than or equivalent to 1 time the IPREM*: €7,039.
- Large families: with an income equal to an amount below 2 times the IPREM*: €15,039. *IPREM (Multiplier for the
Public Income Index that stands at €7,515.59 for 14 monthly wage payments).
Severely vulnerable customers at risk of social exclusion
This category includes severely vulnerable customers receiving assistance from social services from a regional or local administration that finances at least 50% of the total of their bill.
Limits on electricity consumption
Discounts of 25% and 40% of total electricity bills are subject to a limit on energy consumption that, when exceeded, the PVPC will be applied:
- Pensioners: 1,680 kWh of electricity consumed per year.
- Large families: 3,600 kWh per year.
- Consumers with no children: 1,200 kWh per year.
- Consumers with one child: 1,680 kWh per year.
- Consumers with two children: 2,040 kWh per year.
How to apply for the social rate
Firstly, get all the necessary paperwork together.
You will have to complete a form which is downloadable from:
Endesa - https://www.endesaclientes.com/static/iberia/ solicitud-bono-social.pdf
Iberdrola: www.iberdrola cur.es/webclipb/gc/prod/ es_ES/estaticos/te-interesa/ tarifas-reguladas/bono-social/ docs/Formulario_solicitud_ Nuevo_Bono_Social_Con_ aplicacion_MINETAD_V2.pdf
Then, according to classification, you will require the following: Vulnerable / Severely vulnerable consumer:
- Social Rate Form completed and signed by the entire family unit. Forms can be downloaded from the Iberdrola (www.iberdrola.es) and Endesa (www.endesaclientes.com) websites. See above direct links to the form.
- Photocopy of national identification document (DNI) for Spaniards, or foreigners' identification number (NIE) for the supply point account holder and for all members of the family unit (any member over 14 years old).
- Photocopy of the family book (libro de familia) or certificate of the individual page from the civil registry for each member of the family unit. This is only applicable to family units; the family book can be obtained from the civil registry (registro civil).
- Individual municipal registration certificate (padrón) for each member of the family unit or a joint certificate. This can be obtained from citizen services offices and town halls.
- Photocopy of a valid large family card (only applicable to large families). Can be obtained from citizen services offices or the family department of social security offices.
- Social services certificate from the competent agency of one designated by the autonomous region certifying Special Circumstances: disability level above or equivalent to 33%, victim of domestic violence or victim of terrorism. (Only applicable to special circumstances.) Can be obtained from the Department of Social Affairs (Departamento de Asuntos Sociales) or social services offices.
Both Iberdrola and Endesa recommend that you attach a photocopy of your last bill to the application; this can speed things up.
Once you have all the documentation together, you can send it to your electricity company.
Send by email to email@example.com or by post to Iberdrola Comercialización de Último Recurso S.A.U., Apartado de Correos 61.017 , 28080 Madrid.
The application can also be taken to any of their offices or services points. Endesa:
Send by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Apartado de Correos nº 1167, 41080 Sevilla. Or freephone number: 800 76 03 33.
The application can also be taken to any of Endesa’s commercial offices and service points.
Once your company verifies the documents that you send in or present at their offices, they will transfer your request to the Ministry of Energy, who will validate the fulfilment of the requirements to be a beneficiary of the social rate, assigning the degree of vulnerability.
Within a period of approximately 15 days, your company will reply to you in the same way that you submitted your application.
The deadline for applications is April 10, 2018.
What should people who already benefit from this social rate do?
If you had the previous social rate, you will need to renew it, since the criteria changed in October 2017.
You have until April 10, 2018 to prove that you meet the requirements. Until then, you will continue to receive the rate subsidy. If you have not provided evidence of meeting the new criteria by April 10, 2018, the PVPC tariff will be automatically applied without discounts.
How can I keep the social rate?
Electricity companies must check that those applying for the social rate meet the eligibility criteria and that these remain the same at all times. Once it is granted, it is valid for a period of two years, after which proof of compliance with the criteria must be submitted again.
Should the social rate cease to be applied without justification, contact your electric company.
Furthermore, there is an exception for large families: they must renew the social rate when their 'large family card' (título de familia numerosa') is going to expire.
Most companies will send customers a letter 60 days before the expiry date.
Beware that changing company could affect the social rate, so double check before changing.