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Electricity companies not to cut off supply to people in need

The Catalan Government wants energy companies not to cut off the domestic power supply to people in financial difficulties who are temporarily unable to pay their bills. The Catalan Ministry of Business and Employment aims to fight so-called ‘energy poverty’: people who are obliged to do without electricity or gas because they simply cannot afford the bills. In the current economic crisis, thousands of Catalan households (around 20%) are facing this problem, which means they cannot use the heating during winter or they have problems cooking meals. In order to achieve this objective, the Catalan Executive is looking at modifying Catalonia’s Consumption Code to include this initiative fighting ‘energy poverty’.

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05 December 2013 04:08 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Government wants energy companies not to cut the domestic power supply to people in financial difficulties who are temporarily unable to pay their bills. The Catalan Ministry of Business and Employment aims to fight so-called ‘energy poverty’: people who are obliged to do without electricity or gas because they simply cannot afford the bills. In the current economic crisis, thousands of Catalan households (around 20% according to some studies) are facing this problem, which means they cannot use the heating during winter or they have problems cooking meals. In order to achieve this objective, the Catalan Executive is looking at modifying Catalonia’s Consumption Code to include this initiative fighting ‘energy poverty’. Besides, on Wednesday the Spanish Executive agreed with electricity companies on limiting tariff increases.


The Catalan Government is studying how to avoid electricity companies suspending service to consumers who are facing poverty. The Executive aims to amend the bill that is currently being debated in the Catalan Parliament about the Consumption Code. The news was confirmed on Wednesday afternoon by sources from the Catalan Ministry of Business and Employment, which is responsible for Industry, Energy and Consumption policies. In fact, as early as November 6th, Felip Puig – Minister for Business and Employment – stated before the Catalan Parliament that he was working “to guarantee that the basic continuous service is not interrupted by a lack of payment from consumers who are going through a situation of economic vulnerability”.

Asking for complementary measures to be adopted at Spanish level as well

Besides the modification of the Consumption Code, the Catalan Government is also working on complementary means to fight ‘energy poverty’. In this vein, the Catalan Executive has already contacted the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism to ask it to fight this issue also at Spanish level. Catalonia is requesting the Spanish Government to introduce measures such as a social tariff for supply subscribers who have minimal or no income. José Manuel Soria, the Spanish Minister responsible for this issue, answered that the ‘social bond’ mechanism, which is regulated by law, already provides for these possibilities. However, at the moment, it is not fully implemented.

Contacting energy companies

The Catalan Government has also contacted electricity supply companies, such as Endesa, which is the main company in the Catalan market. The Executive is asking the companies to be sensitive to the issue and put measures in place for users who are going through very delicate financial problems and cannot pay bills such as the electricity one. In addition, the Catalan Executive has contacted the Spanish Association of Supplying Companies to ask its members to adopt measures in this direction, in order to guarantee that vulnerable people do not have their service interrupted.

The Catalan Government has full powers regarding consumption matters

Sources from the Catalan Ministry of Business and Employment have explained that there should not be any jurisdiction problem between them and the Spanish Government. They pointed out that the Catalan Government has full powers regarding consumption in Catalonia and therefore it can develop its own policy initiatives on this matter without the agreement of the Spanish Executive. Nonetheless, the Catalan Government would like Madrid to adopt further measures at Spanish level in order to tackle the issue globally.

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  • The Catalan Government wants energy companies not to cut off the domestic power supply to people in financial difficulties (by ACN)

  • The Catalan Government wants energy companies not to cut off the domestic power supply to people in financial difficulties (by ACN)