Narva City Council believes up to 25,000 households in the city may request energy price compensation and is hiring additional staff to process applications.
The exact number of people who can apply for the subsidy depends on the government, but it is clear the council would struggle to serve such a large number of people at once, ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported on Thursday evening.
Katri Raik, chairman of Narva Council, said there are many people earning low wages in the city. The average salary in Narva is around 1,000 compared to 1,500 elsewhere in Estonia.
"Once again, the biggest problem in Narva is wage poverty, low wages," she said.
This means there will be a large number of claims submitted next month when applications open on January 17.
The claims will be processed by the local social assistance office and experience shows residents would rather do this in person than online.
Jelena Vassiljeva, director of the Narva Social Assistance Board, said: "This has to be taken into account, it's just a special feature of our city. We currently want to hire about 20 additional employees and open four additional service points in all districts."
The city authorities believe this will be a bigger task than vaccination.
"It is worse than elections and vaccinations combined, to be quite honest," Raik said, saying it would be like holding a second election.
Narva has a population of approximately 57,000 people. If 25,000 households submit claims this will be almost every family in Narva, AK said.
Editor: Helen Wright