April 26, 2021 - 18:07

Environment and sustainability. The PAE have also helped prevent utilities being cut off in 27,598 cases and helped families save over 80,000 euros.

The principal service for defending people’s energy rights acts in cases where there is a risk of energy poverty and provides advice for households to optimise their consumption and seek energy-saving solutions.

Support provided in 2020

The city’s eleven energy advice points (PAE) helped 33,641 people in 2020, corresponding to 13,355 households. The volume of support rose by 7% compared to the previous year and brings the number of people who have approached the service since it was set up in 2017 to a total of 99,225.

Problems associated with the consumption of utility services mainly affect those linked more closely with housework and domestic tasks: two out of three PAE users are women, a figure which responds to the high level of feminisation of care work which persists in society. In addition, women mainly account for the 32% of users who live alone, with an average age of 69.

In terms of families attended to, 42% of these households include minors and 41% have at least one family member over the age of 65. The labour situation of users reflects high rates of precariousness, with 42% of households with all family members unemployed, 12% of those with jobs working part-time hours and 7% inactive or with permanent disabilities.

Suspension of utilities being cut off

One of the goals of the PAE is to avoid individuals and families in vulnerable situations ending up without basic services. Due to the Covid-19 crisis and the worsening socio-economic conditions in many households, a special state regulation was approved last year expressly prohibiting companies from cutting users off. The decree means the PAE have not had to act in as many risk cases as in previous years, but even so, 27,598 cases of people getting cut off were prevented in the city. This brings the total to 84,663 since the service was set up.

Less consumption, more savings

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, 55% of phone enquiries made to the PAE using the special number set up during lockdown were about how to save on energy bills.

The PAE energy-savings advice service helped families save 81,692 euros in 2020. This was achieved through reducing the power potential contracted (11% of cases), requesting the social discount (27%), changing distributors on the regulated market (17%), switching to variable rates according to times of day (14%) and the elimination of additional services (6%), meaning PAE users were able to bring down their electricity or gas bills. In terms of water supplies, there were also advantages for families through the social discount (24%), while 33% of households attended to also applied for the solidarity fund.

Labour insertion for vulnerable people

The PAE also offer a labour insertion programme, which every year provides experience and qualifications for twenty people with the goal of generating job opportunities. This year’s programme saw 80% of participants find work afterwards, a much higher figure than in 2019 (37%) and in 2018 (28%).

Some 74% of people who took part in last year’s labour insertion programme by the PAE were women over the age of 50, with 80% coming from households where all members are unemployed and with severe material deprivation.

How to contact energy advice points?

By phone, on 930 008 054, from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 2 pm, and by email, with any of the eleven points around the city.

What is the social discount?

The discount entitles holders to 25% or 40% off their electricity bill and can be requested by any individual or family in a vulnerable situation. More information on the social discount.

How to get water bills down?

People at risk of residential exclusion or in vulnerable situations recognised by municipal social services can ask to be exempt from paying the sewerage tax.

How to save on energy consumption?

The reduction of contracted power levels and the application of variable pricing according to the time of day can help bring down bills and optimise consumption. Find more energy savings advice here.