Barcelona will stop paying the debts of energy poverty if the companies do not collaborate
The City Council of Barcelona will stop paying the bills and energy debts of the vulnerable people to the supplying companies in the coming weeks if they do not sign agreements to become co-responsible for the cost of energy poverty.
This was announced by the Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Laia Ortiz, when she presented the municipal projects to fight against energy poverty in which she will invest 4.5 million over the next two years.
Given the reluctance of suppliers to sign agreements with the consistory and become jointly responsible for paying the costs of the energy poverty bill, as established by the Catalan legislation, Ortiz has warned that “or are part of the solution or debt of the families will be on the roof of the companies “because social services will stop paying for it.
The deputy mayor stressed that although the City Council of Barcelona stop granting aid will not increase power outages or gas because in Catalonia the supply companies have the obligation, by law, not to cut off the supply to vulnerable people and if they do they are sanctioned
Laia Ortiz explained that tomorrow they will hold a second meeting with the companies to address both the protocols of action that are applied since July in the city and the economic contributions.
The Deputy Mayor has estimated that companies should charge, at least, with 50% of the cost of energy poverty in Barcelona, about 3 million euros per year.
Energy advisory points
Laia Ortiz has announced that, before the end of the year, the City Council of Barcelona will open Energy Advisory Points (PAE) for the ten districts of the city before the positive balance of the pilot test that took place in Nou Barris, Sant Martí , Sant Andreu and Sants-Montjuïc during five months of autumn and past winters.
The PAE will inform families with difficulties on how to deal with the energy cost of their home, how to minimize consumption, how to manage the aid they are entitled to and how they can obtain subsidies to improve energy efficiency with household isolation .
In addition to these direct actions on households, PAE staff will provide users with information to equip them with tools to defend their rights against the suppliers and to activate all the protection resources that the law grants them.
Ortiz pointed out that with these points the paperwork will be streamlined because they will disassociate themselves from social services and considered it necessary to offer this service to “the irresponsibility of companies to misinform” instead of reporting as do those of other countries.
The plan, with a budget of 4,450,380 euros, will be developed over the next two years through entities of the third sector and will hire a hundred people to be energy consultants, through the program of employment for long-term unemployed, thirty of them with experience in the pilot test and the rest will be trained in the next six months.
Of the balance of the pilot test, the deputy mayor Ortiz has emphasized that of the 3,100 vulnerable homes of the four neighborhoods in which it acted, 60% suffered moderate or severe energy poverty that is, could not maintain an adequate temperature in their homes , had leaks or humidity, or had arrears in the payment of bills.
In addition, 13% of these households had suffered the cut of some basic supply and dragged an average of 348 euros of debts.
The pilot test showed that only 43% of these households paid the Voluntary price for the Small Consumer (PVPC) -price for powers not higher than 10kW-; that only 33% knew about the Social Bonus and only 17.3% had the same, although of the total of the studied households, 65% met the characteristics to be beneficiaries of the Social Bonus.
Laia Ortiz has considered that these percentages can be extrapolated to all households served by social services in the city.