Heating subsidy overhauled

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The government is creating a fairer, albeit more complex, system for the disbursement of the annual heating subsidy for households, placing greater emphasis on areas with colder weather.

The new system is based on a study carried out by the National Meteorological Service, which established different heating requirements across 13,500 cities, towns and villages in Greece.

Meanwhile, the heating subsidy will as of this year be handed out not just to heating oil consumers but also to households that use natural gas, while the residents of mountain villages with a population up to 2,500 people will receive subsidies for the purchase of firewood and heating pellets.

According to the new system, mountain villages – regardless of whether they are in Central Greece, the Peloponnese or Macedonia – will enjoy higher subsidies, as their heating requirements are greater. Until recently, a seaside area in Crete, for example, would be in the same subsidy category as a mountain area, even though they have much different requirements.

Alternate Finance Minister Thodoris Skylakakis said on Thursday that the minimum handout will remain at 80 euros, but the maximum will climb from €350 to €600. “The money of the subsidy will be released with greater fairness and efficiency, as the handout will be based on the heating hours that each household actually requires on an annual basis, and will vary depending on the special meteorological and climate conditions in every village and neighborhood,” he stated.

According to the presentation by meteorologist Manolis Anadranistakis, a building requires heating when the average temperature drops below 15.5 degrees Celsius. “For each day when the average temperature is below 15.5 degrees, we have a ‘degree day’,” he explained. “The more ‘degree days’ an area has, the higher the subsidy handed out will be.”

These “degree days” will determine the algorithm for the subsidy per area, leading to possible differences between villages of the same prefecture, depending on altitude and local conditions.

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