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Energy compensation paid out to 12,000 households

Lit up windows in apartment buildings.
Lit up windows in apartment buildings. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Energy compensation for record-high bills has already been paid to 12,000 people by municipalities across Estonia.

On Thursday, ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported from across the country about the process of applying for energy compensation and the situation so far.

Pärnu in western Estonia was among the first to ask the state to cover extraordinary electricity and heating costs. So far, 2,000 applications have been submitted and compensation paid out to half.

Raul Kivi, chief specialist of the Social Department of Pärnu City Government, told AK the maximum amount that can be paid out is €1,260 for the months of September to December.

"But the nuance is that the electricity cost for this bill was about €3,500 euros. So they got less than half of it through our energy subsidies," he said.

As funding has been allocated, the main concern is now when it will arrive in people's bank accounts.

"We processed the applications in three or four days, and other people who have submitted the application on January 15-16 are worried as 10 days have already passed, but there is no money and the bills need to be paid," Kivi said.

In Räpina Parish, Põlva County, south Estonia the smallest amount of compensation paid out has been €20.

Katrin Taimre, a social welfare specialist in Räpina municipality, said: "We were ready for more applicants to come in, but at the moment there have been few. We are waiting for February-March, when they will be able to submit the bills for November and December."

In Tallinn, 12,000 applications have been submitted. Around one in 10 has been rejected because it exceeds the income threshold or the level of compensation paid out would be below the €10 minimum set by the government.

The average compensation has been €92 euros, but there are big differences between the capital's eight districts.

Raimo Saadi, head of the Tallinn Social and Health Care Board, said: "There are districts where the average has been €230, for example in Pirita or Nõmme, but there have been districts where the average is around €50. These are usually areas where there are more apartment buildings, such as in Lasnamäe or Mustamäe."

He said the differences occur due to the way houses are heated. Those using district heating only saw prices start to rise in December whereas electricity prices for private houses have been increasing for a longer period.

Mustamäe resident Dace told AK her heating bill has risen, but not extraordinarily.

"The heating doubled in December compared to November," she said, saying the price rose by around €40 and she will receive €25 compensation.

Dace will definitely apply for support, as money is money. But for some people, €25 can be a week's food allowance.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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