Twice as many homes will be cold in winter due to the high price of gas
Almost Two million Spanish homes suffered from energy poverty severe conceals in 2021while 14.3% of citizens admit that they have not been able to keep their home at the right temperature in winter -double that in 2019-, coinciding with a greater effort to control your bill. These are “worrying” data, according to the latest study by the Chair of Energy and Poverty of the Comillas Pontifical University, which concludes that, if the Government’s measures against the rise in energy prices had not been applied, energy poverty severe concealment would have reached 200,000 more homes.
Among the outstanding metrics, the report, presented this Tuesday, puts the focus on the inadequate temperature indicatorbased on the Survey of Living Conditions that the National Statistics Institute (INE) that was carried out in 15,000 homes. More than 14% of the citizens surveyed -representing 6.7 million people- admitted not having of suitable conditions Thermal comfort in winter.
If they are extrapolated, These levels represent 1.6 million more people compared to 2020 -31% more- and double compared to 2019, the last pre-pandemic year, when the indicator stood at 7.6%. The authors believe that “probably” one of the causes is related to the Philomena storm, since the extreme cold that settled in the Iberian Peninsula in January 2021 “recorded in the subconscious how fragile our homes are to events of this nature.” .
On the other hand, they assume that this rate shows what the official indicators based on income-expenditure, due to their limitations, are not able to reflect. Is that the families continued and expanded their dynamic of restricting heating “for fear of the bill” in a 2021 that was, “on the one hand, the year of the beginning of the end of the covid and, on the other, the year of the beginning of the energy price crisis”.
Energy poverty indicator skyrocketed
The report has handled other indices such as insufficient energy expenditurewhich identifies a home as energy poor when dedicates less than half the national median to cover these costsand that of severe hidden energy poverty.
Experts see a very noticeable discrepancy between the two, and it is that while the first has dropped from 11.2% in 2020 to 10.1%, the second has shot up from 4.8% to 10.3%, in line with the results of the inadequate temperature indicator.
When a household declares that You cannot keep your home in minimum comfort conditions in winteris found in hidden energy povertyhave explained the authors of the document, Efraim Centeno, José Carlos Romero and Roberto Barrella
No change in late payment rate
However, the study acknowledges improvements in several indicators, such as disproportionate spending, which identifies the group of households that dedicate a very high percentage of their income to cover the energy needs of the home. According to the report, this decreased from 16.1% in 2020 to 15.2%, returning to 2019 levels.
I mean, something more than 15% of Spanish households -almost three million- spent more than twice the national median on energy in 2021, being in energy poverty according to this dimension. the Chair attributes this evolution to the fact that energy prices began to climb from the middle of the year and reached their peak in December, which has led to a more moderate impact in the survey.
Also, although energy spending grew in 2021, so did household incomemany of which had been affected in 2020 by the cessation of activity and the Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE) derived from the health crisis.
For his part, the late payment indicator remained practically constant after the notable worsening experienced a year earlier, and went from 9.6% to 9.5%, representing some 4.5 million people. So that, Almost 10% of the citizens of Spain declared that they were late in paying their energy bills during 2021, a year in which late payment has not worsened.
With everything, experts warn of the dataand it is that “still very worrying“, especially when the current situation “does not invite us to think that the energy crisis is going to have a prompt and significant end” in terms of lower prices.
The positive impact of government measures
the chair It has also estimated the impact of the measures adopted by the Government to deal with the environment of high energy prices, such as tax reductions and charges and tolls on the electricity bill.
Had it not been implemented, the incidence of hidden energy poverty would have reached approximately 200,000 more householdssays the study, which qualifies 2021 as a year “of some lights and a great shadow.”
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