Tallinn city authorities have received over 5,000 applications for energy bill payment support in two days – more applications for support than it would in a single month usually – and estimate that figure to grow to around 60,000 over time, deputy mayor Betina Beškina (Center) says.
Like many other local authorities nationwide, Tallinn, by far the most populous municipality, has hired additional staff to help process the applications, which opened online on Monday.
Beškina said; "Tallinn has hired 15 people to process the large number of applications, while the same number is still to be recruited as well."
Normally, the city would expect to received between two three thousand applications for support in the space of a month.
A glitch with the online system Monday has been resolved, Beškina added, and applications have been going smoothly since then.
"If you can't initially log-in to the system, you need to wait a few minutes [before re-trying]," she added.
While support applications are also accepted on paper, these have only made up around 3 percent of the total so far (around 150), Beškina added.
The first pay-outs will start on Thursday.
The scheme is a nationwide one, whose administration has been devolved to local government, and is a response to the soaring energy prices since autumn, in electricity, natural gas and also district heating – a form of centrally-controlled apartment block heating system dating back to the Soviet era in the main.
Support can be applied for retroactively to September 2021 and will run until the end of March – through heating season in other words.
Some householders may opt to apply for their support for the whole period later on.
Support is means-tested and is available for those with a monthly income lower than €1,126 net (in the case of a single adult) or over twice that for a family of two adults and two children.
Energy costs must exceed €0.12 per Kwh for electricity, just under €0.05 per Kwh for natural gas and just under €0.08 per Kwh in the case of district heating, ERR reports.
Up to 80 percent of a bill will be reimbursed for the whole bill, while support is capped at €500 per household per month.
An additional governmental measure has removed the natural gas network connection fee altogether, and halved that for electricity, while the Reform-Center coalition has been discussing potential further measures every day since the start of the week.
If you are a Tallinn resident, you can find out more information on the scheme in English here, while if you are in Tartu, the information is here. The information for Pärnu is available only in Estonian (here) and Russian.
Editor: Andrew Whyte