Almost half of Barcelona families suffering from energy poverty have dependent children
In about half of the families in Barcelona with difficulties in paying electricity, water or gas bills, 48.4%, there are minors. On the other hand, in 54.3% of households where people affected by this problem live, that of energy poverty, all of them are unemployed and 67.9% of those who suffer from it are women. They are data of a report that has presented / displayed this Thursday the City council, elaborated from the analysis of the people who go to the 10 Points of Energetic Advice (PAE) that there is in the Catalan capital.
These, which provide information and help to all citizens who request it and have been in operation for a year, have attended at the moment 22,887 people from 8,310 households – a university study of RMIT Europe number in 170,000 citizens affected by this type of poverty in Barcelona, which translates into 10% of the population. In addition, the deputy mayor of Drets Socials, Laia Ortiz, has pointed out that the PAE have avoided 5,020 cuts of supply to economically vulnerable families.
Among the achievements of the municipal government, Ortiz announced, is also to have got Aigües de Barcelona (Agbar) has signed an agreement by which he agrees not to cut water to anyone without first informing the Consistory, to prevent it from see disadvantaged citizens at risk of exclusion. The City Council, for its part, is responsible for finding out if there is a situation of vulnerability within a maximum period of 15 working days. In case there is not one, the company will be able to contact those affected and will have to give them 30 calendar days so that they have the opportunity to settle their debt and thus avoid a suspension of supply.
After announcing the contents of this agreement, the deputy mayor explained that work is being done for the other suppliers to sign similar ones and has informed, in more detail, the results of the report about the people served in the PAE . It has indicated, among other aspects, that the most frequent thing is that they are between 35 and 54 years old and that 44.9% are from outside Spain , while 39% were born in Catalonia and 16.1%, in the rest of the State.
Ortiz also pointed out that 11.9% of families requesting care are single-parent and that 4% have one of their members connected to a healthcare machine with an electrical connection. 30% declare living in floors with damp or structural defects.
The report also reveals that the vast majority of those served do not know their rights as an energy consumer. Thus, 86% of the families do not benefit from the discount of the social bonus and 92.8% do not have hourly discrimination.
And as for the activity of the PAE, the study shows that during its first year of existence have managed 1,200 social bonds , in addition to 1,428 changes of power with supply companies that have saved those affected by energy poverty 54,000 euros. They have also processed 860 changes of ownership of contracts.
These advisory points have an annual budget of 2.2 million euros and a staff of 50 professionals.
To date, five sanctions have been imposed on Endesa for a total value of 350,000 euros for having cut off the supply to families without having previously consulted the municipal social services if they were in a situation of vulnerability and having thus violated the Catalan law 24/2015 of energy poverty.
There are also 17 other disciplinary proceedings, both against this company and against GNF, Iberdrola and Aitel, which follow their path and are in different stages of processing.
Last December a sentence annulled the protocol for the application of this law but the City Council still considers it fully valid.
Electricity, among the most expensive in the EU
In addition to the municipal study, another one has also been presented by the university team of RMIT Europe. Its director, researcher Sergio Tirado, has pointed out that in the majority of households where energy poverty is suffered “electric heat predominates , which is problematic because the prices of electricity in Spain are among the highest in the European Union (EU ) “.
The report of RMIT Europe also points out that Ciutat Vella is the district of Barcelona where there is more energy poverty . They are followed by Nou Barris and Horta-Guinardó.