75% of families served by the Red Cross could not keep their homes at an adequate temperature as early as 2021

75% of vulnerable families served by the Red Cross say they cannot maintain the right temperature in their home, especially in winter, according to data from the NGO for 2021 and collected in a report on energy poverty presented this Wednesday.

The study is based on data prior to the invasion of Ukraine, but it does capture the effect of part of the energy price crisis that began a year ago. The document, prepared by the Red Cross together with the non-profit organization Ecodes, indicates that 23% of these families say they do not have heating, compared to 10% collected by the official statistics of the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving ( IDEA).

The climatic zone with the most families who say they cannot keep their home at a suitable temperature in winter or summer is the Atlantic, which includes the autonomous communities of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and Euskadi. There the percentage is 82%. In the Continental area (interior of the country) it reaches 76%; and in the Mediterranean (Catalonia, Valencian Community, Murcia and Andalusia), 72%.

Regarding the average electricity consumption of families, “throughout 2021 it has been around 11% below the national average”, with about 259 kWh (3,108 kWh/year). "This occurs despite having less efficient housing and equipment, so it can be deduced that the families served do not reach the necessary degree of comfort and do not have the same number of appliances as the national average."

The Red Cross emphasizes "the need for education and training in energy matters, both for savings and efficiency in consumption, and to understand the electricity bill itself, since 88% of its users say they do not understand it."

The average potential savings per family served by the NGO that the entity has detected is 178 euros per year, corresponding to 24% of its bill. "This figure, especially, is due to the high number of families entitled to the social bonus that are not receiving it." 63% of those served by the Red Cross are not benefiting from these discounts but are entitled to it, according to the study. "Automation in the granting of the social bonus based on income criteria, a claim by many social entities, would end this situation in part."

obsolete technologies

The study reveals that 40% of the homes it serves have a refrigerator in poor condition, and 78% of homes do not have LED lighting. “Both factors, because they are obsolete technologies and in poor condition, have a direct impact on family consumption. Humidity in homes, air infiltrations in doors and windows or lack of hot water are also added to these vulnerabilities.

“At the national level, the latest published indicators corresponding to the year 2020 reveal that 10.9% of the population is not able to maintain the adequate temperature in their home in winter. Logically, as they are vulnerable families, in the sample of households served by the Red Cross this percentage is much higher”, indicates the NGO.

The Red Cross recalls that, according to the latest official data from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, between 9.6% and 16% of Spanish households were in a situation of energy poverty in the year of the outbreak of the pandemic. This represented an increase of 22% compared to the previous year.

But the rise in energy prices last year "and its growth since the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine make the Red Cross foresee a possible increase" in a problem for which the organization offers affected families advice, workshops, delivery of energy efficiency and energy renovations in homes, among others.

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