The city’s energy advice points first appeared in 2017 to defend energy rights and cut the number of people at risk of energy poverty. So far, the service has attended to over 80,000 people and stopped supplies of water, gas and electricity being cut off in 37,240 cases. The C40 global network of cities has recognised the project as one of the best initiatives against the climate emergency, described in the report ‘Cities 100’.
Some 170,000 people were suffering from or susceptible to energy poverty in Barcelona in 2017, with problems paying for their water, gas or electricity bills. In an effort to tackle the situation, Barcelona City Council opened an Energy Advice Point (PAE) in each district to provide information and raise awareness, empowering people in relation to their energy rights and measures geared towards cutting the cost of utility bills. The eleven advice points have helped 80,951 people to date, the majority of them women (67%), and prevented water, gas and electricity supplies being cut off in 37,240 cases.
In recognition of the fight to eliminate energy poverty from the city, the C40 global network of cities, the Danish association Realdania and consultancy Nordic Sustainability have selected the energy advice points as one of the hundred most ambitious climate initiatives in the world. The project is included in the report Cities 100, which is to be presented at the global city summit being held in Copenhagen from 9 to 12 October.
See the Cities 100 report at: https://www.cities100report.com/.
What services do energy advice points offer?
The main causes of energy poverty are the cost of basic supplies, the architectural quality of housing and people’s socio-economic situations. The advice points offer the information, support and assistance needed so that people can exercise their energy rights and utility companies don’t deny them access to basic services. Specifically, they offer the following services:
- Evaluation of reminders for non-payment of bills and start of processes to prevent families in vulnerable situations from getting their utilities cut off.
- Advice, recommendations and energy cost calculator to cut the consumption of utilities at home.
- Steps to get electricity consumption in line with the power rating contracted and switch to tariffs linked to times of day.
- Information and applications for the social discount and exemption from the sewer tax.
- Self-generation of solar energy at home, development of renewable energy projects.
The service offered by the PAEs has been rated as excellent (9.5 out of 10) in terms of citizen satisfaction. A third of the staff at PAEs are people at risk of labour exclusion and in some cases also use the service.