The Drenthe Municipalities of Assen, Tynaarlo and Aa en Hunze stated that they will soon start paying out the first installment, worth 200 euro, of the energy allowance for low-income households announced by the national government in December 2021.
The payment will be awarded only to residents already known to the WPDA (Werkplein Drentsche Aa) as of January 1st, who have an income of up to 120 percent of the social minimum.
The three municipalities have decided to start paying out the allowance early because of the rising gas prices. “We are getting more and more signals from residents and cooperation partners that households are getting into trouble with paying their energy costs. We are therefore not going to wait for the government’s amendment to the law,” said Assen alderman Jan Broekema. Alderman Oetra Gopal of Tynaarlo added: “The majority of these are people on social assistance benefits. We know that this group is eligible for the energy allowance. In this way, we help some of the residents pay their energy bills.”
In December 2021, the Dutch government announced that low-income households would receive a one-off extra energy allowance of 200 euro, to which were added 600 euro per household in a March statement. The total of 800 euro is to be paid in installments.
Residents with an income up to 120% of the social assistance standard who are already experiencing problems with paying the energy bill can report to WPDA, so that customization can be looked into via individual special assistance.
The government is still trying to determine exactly the right target group for the measure and the available budget, and further communications on the matter are expected soon.
The early installment payment will benefit around 2,850 households in Assen, Tynaarlo and Aa en Hunze, but that is only a temporary relief measure for the serious issue of energy poverty, stated Aa and Hunze alderman Co Lambert. He added that the three municipalities are looking into more permanent solutions.