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ENERGY

Denmark’s state auditor to review potential errors in energy relief payments

The Danish state auditor Rigsrevisionen is to scrutinise payments of 6,000-kroner one-off relief to households impacted by high gas bills, after reports that many payments went to ineligible recipients.

Denmark’s state auditor to review potential errors in energy relief payments
Denmark's state auditor is to scrutinise possible erroneous payments of energy relief money to households. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The state auditor will investigate conditions surrounding the payment of tax-free relief sums of 6,000 kroner to eligible houses last month.

The relief, which was targeted at households likely to be worst affected by high gas prices, cost the government around 2.5 billion kroner.

Danish broadcasters TV2 and DR both report that the national auditor will look at problems surrounding the payments, after a meeting with the state accountant Statsrevisorerne.

The one-off payouts, agreed by parliament in March, were sent last month to over 400,000 households which met the criteria set to receive the relief.  

Households with a collective pre-tax income of under 706,000 kroner were eligible for the one-off cash boosts. Additionally, the households must be primarily heated by individual gas heaters, electronic radiators or be located in a district heating area in which the heating is produced by at least 65 percent gas.

But due to inaccuracies in an online database that requires homeowners to self-report information on their home, including gas boilers, many people are believed to have received the cheques in error. The government said in August it would investigate the issue. 

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a briefing earlier this week that she did not regret the government’s decision to spend 2.5 billion kroner on the heating relief.

“We have not regretted providing targeted help but it is obviously regrettable that some problems have occurred in the process,” she said.

Energy Minister Dan Jørgensen said in comments to broadcaster TV2 in August that the government was aware of a risk errors could be made when parliament adopted the law needed to implement the payouts.

But the decision to pay money directly into recipients’ accounts was nevertheless taken “to get the money out there quickly”, he said.

READ ALSO: Up to 70 Danes offer to pay energy money back to government

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ENERGY

How to apply for Denmark’s 6,000 kroner energy relief if you were missed by automatic payments

Denmark last year sent an automatic 6,000-kroner payout to eligible households in a measure intended to relieve people struggling with high energy costs. People who think they may qualify for the money, but didn’t receive it, can soon apply.

How to apply for Denmark’s 6,000 kroner energy relief if you were missed by automatic payments

The tax-free cash payout of 6,000 kroner was approved by parliament last spring in response to rising energy prices and sent out in August to households which met the set criteria.

The payments were made automatically, so no application was needed at the time.

Households with a collective pre-tax income of under 706,000 kroner were eligible for the one-off cash boosts. Additionally, the household should be primarily heated by individual gas heaters (or have experienced similar increases to bills as such homes) or be located in a district heating area in which the heating is produced by at least 65 percent gas.

But errors in registration data could result in households which meet the criteria not receiving payments automatically, the Danish Energy Agency said at the time.

People who believe that their household meets the criteria, but have not received the money, can therefore apply for it from early 2023.

A significant number of people also received the money even though they did not fulfil the criteria, for example because they had replaced their gas boilers but the registration data on their homes was outdated.

READ ALSO: Up to 70 Danes offer to pay energy money back to government

An additional application round for the heating cheques opens on March 14th, according to a notice from Energy Minister Lars Aagaard to parliament’s energy committee.

“The vast majority of households which are entitled to the heating cheque have received the payment. Some households, which are entitled according to the law have meanwhile seen circumstances which mean they unfortunately didn’t receive the cheque automatically,” he wrote.

Specifically, the Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) will open a digital application platform via the website varmecheck.dk.

If your household did not receive the payout last year, you can apply for it if the household’s overall income in 2020 was less than 650,000 kroner (after the AM-bidrag tax contribution is deducted).

Application must be made within an eight-week window. You can enter your email address on the varmecheck website to receive a reminder when the application round opens.

“Reasons that households have not received the cheque automatically could for example be that there was data missing or not sufficiently ready for an automatic payment to happen, [or] that the oldest person in the household didn’t have a Nemkonto [designated bank account, ed.] for the money to be paid into,” Aagaard wrote in the parliamentary note.

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