Initiative: ASET - Automatic Social Energy Tariff
Institution: Administrative Modernisation Agency and the Directorate-General of Energy and Geology
Problem: Since 2010 the Portuguese government has operated a ‘Social Energy Tariff’ programme which aims to ease the burden of energy bills for low-income families by allowing for reduced fees for the most in need. However, uptake of the programme remained low with consumers either unaware of the entitlement or deterred by the administrative burden that came with putting in a request for tariff reductions.
Solution: To address the low uptake rate, the Automatic Social Energy Tariff (ASET), a national interoperability platform, was developed in 2016. The platform automates the tariff application process, cross checking data from several government entities to identify the consumers who are entitled to the “Social Energy Tariff”. Through the service, the Government proactively checks for eligibility and automatically attributes a social tariff allowed to bridge the gap and ensure all families in need now have financial support for their energy services. In such a way, the onus has shifted from the individual to the government to ensure that low income families have access to the reduction.
Impact: According to evaluations provided, automating the Social Energy Tariff saw an improvement in the number of beneficiaries from 4 per cent to about 20 per cent of all the households in Portugal, representing an overall discount of over 85 million euros on their invoices. The Automated Social Energy Tariff platform was launched for piped natural gas only, however a pilot project for a “Bottled Liquefied Petroleum Gas” social tariff is under development in order to benefit vulnerable consumers who do not have access to natural gas.