'Let's stop the electricity scam': protest in Barcelona against rising prices set for Saturday
Dozens of grassroots groups and activists will gather at Plaça Universitat at 6 pm
Over 100 grassroots groups, activists and trade unions, including the Alliance against Energy Poverty, the Sindicat de Llogateres tenants' union, or the PAH anti-eviction platform, are planning a protest against rising electricity costs in Barcelona on Saturday.
The price of electricity in Spain has risen by around 44% over the past year, which the organizers have described as "abusive."
Kicking off from Plaça Universtitat, in the city center, at 6 pm, demonstrators will gather to express their dissatisfaction with what they have dubbed "the electricity scam" – prices have soared since last summer, and experts believe they will continue to do so in the coming months as both gas reserves needed to power mixed-cycle plants and renewable energy use remain low.
Organizers fear the effects the continued price hikes will have, particularly on society's most vulnerable, especially as demand is set to increase over the coming months as temperatures drop.
10% to 15% of the population suffers from energy poverty, meaning that they struggle or are unable to pay their utility bills and limit or live without the use of electricity, water, or gas.
"To increase the cost of electricity is to condemn more people to poverty every day," Iru Moner, CGT trade union's social action secretary, said.
Although electricity prices have increased, according to Monder, salaries and pensions have been stagnant. The cost of petrol has jumped by 23%, while basic goods have done so by 15% and inflation in October was at 5.5%.
"Labor market precarity and temporary jobs mean that households and workers suffer from insecurity when it comes to unforeseen expenses," she said.
There have been 20 new all-time high electricity wholesale prices since mid-July – the latest of which was on October 24 at €219.29/MWh – when the previous January 2012 record of €103.76 was first broken.