The “Energy Efficiency Vouchers” is a positive measure to combat energy poverty, but should be improved at various levels, such as increasing the amount, enlarging the scale of intervention at neighbourhood level and including tenants.
– Portugal has a voucher programme to implement measures to combat energy poverty.
– This programme has several flaws that do not allow it to reach those who need it the most.
– It is already a positive step but there are several important improvements that can be made to effectively combat this serious problem in Portugal.
The government launched the “Vale Eficiência” Programme in 2021, consisting of vouchers to implement measures to combat energy poverty. These are vouchers of € 1300 + VAT, out of a total of 100,000 vouchers planned for the full programme.
The main shortcomings associated with the Vale Efficiency Programme are as follows:
– The €162 million allocation for “efficiency vouchers” up to 2025, although significant, and complementary to other Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) allocations for the housing sector, falls far short of what is needed;
– 1300 EUR + VAT allows a minimum intervention: it is very close to the minimum cost of a heat pump for water heating; in the replacement of windows, it is unlikely to go beyond the replacement of one window and it does not allow the purchase of a solar collector.
– There is not necessarily a correspondence between families in energy poverty and the social tariff for electricity, being fundamental a proactive action, with identification at local scale of the most pressing situations of energy poverty by the energy agencies and parish councils, so that there is a clear priority for these families who, even for reasons of information and literacy, should remain aloof from this support;
– It makes no sense for applications to require that only owners permanently residing in the dwelling should be able to participate; applications from tenants should be considered, provided that the possibility of remaining in the dwelling for a period of five years in conjunction with the owner’s authorisation is ensured; this restriction excludes many families from the outset.