France issues vouchers for firewood
French residents who use logs, wood chips or pellets to heat their homes can now receive between €50 ($53) and €200 ($212) from the government to help them cope with the energy crisis.
The “exceptional energy voucher” program launched on Tuesday is designed to help lower-income families survive the winter as the price of firewood has risen by 30% this year, officials said.
Funds can be received by applying online through a government-run website. The sum depends on the family’s income, the size of the household, and the type of fuel used.
The French parliament allocated €230 million this month to aid people struggling to buy firewood. At least 2.6 million households are eligible for the program, according to the Economy Ministry.
Similar vouchers were introduced last month for households using heating oil, with families eligible for aid between €100 and €200. Like many other EU member states, France has rolled out an energy-saving scheme seeking to avoid shortages and power outages during the winter season.
The energy crisis and high inflation rates in the EU have been exacerbated by the Ukraine conflict after member states imposed sweeping sanctions on Russian oil and gas exports.
Public Action and Accounts Minister Gabriel Attal said last month that the voucher program would also help to reduce profiteering from the rising cost of wood.
The French Federation of Fuels and Heating (FF3C) described the demand for pellets in August as “abnormally high” as consumers rushed to stock up for the winter. According to the FF3C, it will need to produce 2.4 million tons of wood this year, as opposed to the 1.8 million tons that were produced ahead of the previous winter.