The fight against energy poverty spreads to all city districts
Following the pilot scheme successfully carried out over five months in the districts of Nou Barris, Sant Martí, Sants-Montjuïc and Sant Andreu, City Council has decided to extend its energy advice points to the rest of the city’s districts. Not only will the facilities act in the case of emergencies, they will also offer advice for the most vulnerable families on how to cut consumption and access subsidies to improve home insulation. A hundred long-term unemployed people will be contracted to carry out the work and an investment of 4.5 million euros will be made over the next two years.
“Not only are we combatting energy poverty, we’re also telling families about their rights, being pro-active and offering advice on how to save energy and on renovation grants”, noted the Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Laia Ortiz.
Personnel at the energy advice points will be offering to process residential exclusion reports, process fines for electric companies and other procedures. To be able to provide the service, 100 people in vulnerable situations will be contracted and trained via the Làbora programme.
Evaluation of the pilot scheme
In November 2015 the first four energy advice points were opened. In the five months the scheme lasted, assistance was provided for 3,100 homes, 60% of which were suffering from moderate or severe energy poverty. In 13% of cases, homes had had their electricity supply cut off.
The advice offices dealt with 450 cases of services being cut off: 133 relating to electricity, 225 to gas and 96 to water. A total of 220 legal cases have been brought against supply companies, according to law 24/2015.
The scheme also found that only a third of users were aware of the social benefit and only 17.3% had used it, even though 65% met the requisites.
Ortiz also noted that the law assigns a role of coresponsibility to supply companies in cases of vulnerability, and in this context the Deputy Mayor also announced that Barcelona City Council will stop paying the debts of families in energy poverty. “Electricity companies must assume at least 50% of the bill”, stated Ortiz.