Against energy poverty: April 11 is the deadline to renew the social bonus
In Barcelona there are approximately 170,000 people in situations of energy poverty . For these neighbors, the threat of a power outage is a daily reality . This is the most extreme expression of this reality, but there are many people who have arrears in bills, who can not maintain a proper temperature at home or who make many sacrifices to meet the payment of electricity and gas.
Some of them fail to cover the basic needs of food or stop using hot water or the stove at home in order to reduce energy expenditure . These voluntary restrictions of consumption often involve psychological . In addition, risk behaviors are assumed, such as using candles to light, or unsafe methods of heating the home.
More than half of Catalan households at risk of exclusion, specifically 54.4%, have difficulty paying the electricity bill, and 3 out of 10 have been delayed in paying electricity, gas and water bills . To fight against this reality, the Barcelona City Council has 11 energy advisory points , known as PAE.
Throughout 2017, around 23,000 people have been attended to and more than 5,020 supply cuts have been stopped. It is a municipal service that has the objective of empowering citizens in energy matters by offering information on energy rights and on the necessary actions to be able to exercise them. Another important service is personal advice and, depending on the specific cases, aimed at reducing spending on electricity, water and gas. Finally, they detect and intervene in possible situations of energy poverty.
Results of energy poverty
Energy poverty entails a series of consequences in different areas. The health of the people is the main harmed, since they do not achieve minimum comfort levels to the homes. Other consequences are the decrease in physical and academic performance . Relational problems arise both within the family and with people from outside the home. Finally, it also causes degradation in buildings, increased CO2 emissions and excessive debt .
One of the most important procedures to be done at one of the 11 energy advisory points of the Barcelona City Council is the renewal of the social bonus and the exemption from the sewer rate.
People who already have social bonus , have to provide the new documentation required before April 11, 2018 , in accordance with the new requirements set by the Ministry approved to Royal Decree 897/2017, which regulates the figure of the vulnerable consumer, the social bonus and other protection measures for domestic consumers of electricity. In case of not complying with the new requirements, the regulated tariff , known as PVPC, will be applied.
The presentation of the documentation can be done personally by filling in the application, having all the required documentation and presenting it to the nearest office. Also presenting the documentation for the renewal or first request of the social bonus by fax or by email to the company. Or by postal mail , filling in the application and sending it to the postal address of the company, along with the required documentation. The Energy Advice Points of the City of Barcelona inform about what the social bonus is, who has the right to request it and will help with its request and processing.
The social bonus is a discount of 25% or 40% on the electricity bill . This discount does not apply to taxes. The reduction will be applied to the PVPC regulated tariff, which is set by the State for customers of the regulated market, and the power contracted can not be higher than 10kW. The social bonus lasts for two years .
The possibility of accessing the social bonus concession depends on the economic income that determines that one is in a situation of vulnerability.
The water receipt
Another savings that can be achieved is the exemption of the sewer rate , one of several concepts that includes the water bill, along with the water fee and the Metropolitan Rate of Urban Waste Treatment, TMTR . The water canon is a tax with ecological purpose on the use made of water, through which users contribute to the costs of water cycle services.
The sewerage rate is paid for the provision of services as a special surveillance activity and for cleaning, exploitation, conservation and development of the municipal sewerage network. The exemption of the fee comes from a resolution of the Barcelona City Council, which approved in the Plenary of the Municipal Council of October 6, 2017, an amendment to the fiscal ordinance number 3.5 of sewer rates that establishes an exemption from the rate for holders of water supply contracts in a situation of residential exclusion .
The procedures to obtain the exemption of the sewer rate start with the achievement of a report of residential exclusion or vulnerability of the person to the home . Once the competent municipal services issue the reports that accredit this emergency situation, this information is transferred to the company supplying the service so that it directly applies the exemption.
This exemption will take effect from the date of the aforementioned reports and will be extended until the moment when the accredited situation ceases to have effect. The procedure is free, and to obtain more information and help with processing, those interested can go to an Energy Advice Point or call 010.
The people who are entitled to the exemption from the sewer rate are all those who are in a situation of residential exclusion or in a situation of vulnerability recognized by the municipal social services and who hold contracts for the supply of home water networks.
The social bond in force is a modification of the previous one established to article 45 of Law 24/2013. One of the main novelties is the definition of different degrees of vulnerability . Thus, the new social bonus regulated by Royal Decree 897/2017 establishes the figures of vulnerable consumers, vulnerable vulnerable consumers and consumers at risk of social exclusion. According to the decree, the latter type of consumer will not be able to cut off the electricity supply in case of non-payment .
Each degree of vulnerability involves a different degree of protection and specific bonuses on the terms of energy and power of the invoice. To establish the specific typology of each case, the annual income of the consumer or of the family unit is the fundamental concept. Depending on the type of consumer, discounts on energy and power vary.
In the case of the variable consumer, the bonus is 25%, while in the case of severe vulnerable consumers, the discount on the terms of energy and power reaches up to 40%. The figure of the consumer at risk of social exclusion has a complementary protection , since, in addition to a 40% reduction in the amount of energy and power, 50% is paid by Social Services .
The social bonus that comes out of the application of Royal Decree 897/2017 defines maximum limits for subsidized consumption to avoid wasting energy and resources . These caps are annual and are applied to the invoice proportionally to the days of the billing period. That is, the practice is a daily limit, without taking into account the variability of consumption according to the time of year, nor the type of energy used for heating, hot water and cooking.
The annual income limits that give access to the social bonus are indexed to the Multiple Income Public Income Indicator (IPREM) of 14 payments, which currently stands at € 7,519.59 / year. In the energy term, the discount applies up to the maximum consumption limit of the billing period.