Watching closer to detect energy poverty

28/03/2017 - 15:17


In the two months since they started operating, the city’s energy advice points (PAE) have identified the social invisibility of the energy poverty which needs addressing. New protocols are being established to anticipate and improve the detection and notification of possible cases of energy poverty and involve firefighters, healthcare professionals and housing intervention teams.

The Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Laia Ortiz, asserted: “We’re taking another step in strengthening the detection of energy poverty and combatting the invisibility which shrouds it. To do so, we’re using all the public service professionals available to us”. Ortiz added: “Energy poverty has an effect on the safety and health of people, both physically and mentally”.

Specific training courses have begun for professionals from the Barcelona Fire Service, the Unit to Counter Residential Exclusion (UCER) and the Housing and Squatting Intervention and Mediation Service (SIPHO), as well as staff working at Primary Health Centres (CAP), Care and Treatment Centres for Patients with Drug Dependence (CAS) and social workers.

Personnel will be provided with the tools needed to identify cases as early as possible and take action accordingly. The Commissioner for Security, Amadeu Recasens, pointed out: “To detect cases one has to learn how to spot the signs, and that’s the idea behind these courses”. The new protocols are also expected to be able to be used to draft an extensive report on how common energy poverty is in the city, given the lack of data and transparency from major power companies.

Positive evaluation of the PAE

During their first two months in operation, the PAE have proved to be an efficient tool in guaranteeing people’s energy rights.  The service has attended to over 1,800 people, 500 of whom had received notifications that they were to be cut off, intervening directly in 184 urgent cases. The work carried out by the advice points has prevented a total of 1,100 cases of users being cut off.