The pressure for the coalition government to approve as soon as possible the prohibition of the cut of basic supplies (electricity, water and gas) at least during the state of alarm increases another notch. If the junior partner of the Executive, Unidas Podemos, has publicly claimed the Minister of Energy Transition, Teresa Ribera, to expedite the processing of a royal decree in this regardNow it is civil society and a good part of the groups that have supported the General Budgets that join this request. This same Thursday, several associations have met with various parties in Congress to demand from the fourth vice president “a royal decree-law that will once again protect the thousands of families that today may suffer a cut in water, electricity or gas”.
Ecological Transition proposes to ban power cuts for four months but Unidos Podemos wants to include water and gas
The manifesto is signed by seven entities: Aigua és Vida, Aliança contra la Pobresa Energètica, Madrid Housing Coordinator, Ecologists in Action, Enginyeria Sense Fronteres, the Platform for a New Energy Model and the Public Water Network. And it has received the express support of Unidos Podemos, ERC, Junts per Catalunya, EH Bildu, Más País, the CUP, Compromís, BNG and Coalición Canaria.
The document assures “that the right to a decent home does not only consist in being able to have four walls and a roof, but also in having guaranteed basic supplies that allow us to enjoy a decent standard of living.” For this reason, he continues, the Government, “aware of the terrible effects that a supply cut can have in the midst of a pandemic” promoted shortly after declaring the first state of alarm “a guarantee of water and energy supply for individuals and families in a situation of vulnerability, a measure that made it clear that the protection offered by the electricity social bond and other current protection measures is not enough to alleviate the effects of energy poverty in a comprehensive manner “.
But, they point out, “the measure did not take into account that many families in vulnerable situations and who suffer from energy poverty, for different reasons, do not enjoy the discounts derived from the electricity social bond nor are they in the regulated market. That is why the Government extended that same March its own decree to extend said guarantee to “individual consumers in their habitual residence”, a measure that “included electrical energy, petroleum products, including manufactured gases and liquefied petroleum gases, natural gas and water “.
The data provided by the government itself in parliament does not leave much room for doubt about the impact of the measure. As the manifesto recalls, “the measure prevented a total of 200,000 power outages by June 2020, while 150,000 homes were protected from the interruption of their natural gas supply. It is estimated that, in the case of electricity, the figure could reach 270,000 until September 30 “. There is no data on water since the employers, the social associations denounce, have not provided them. Of course, as they point out: “on April 3, 2020, in the midst of the escalation of the pandemic, the AGA employer demanded that the Government, through a letter addressed to the Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, put an end a moratorium and thus be able to resume the water cuts. ”
No extension in September and still not approved
“It is surprising that the measure prohibiting supply interruptions was not extended to the end of September,” the document said. In that negotiation, the third vice president, Nadia Calviño, left out these measures, as well as the extension of the moratorium on evictions.
Both issues are right now the two main workhorses within the coalition government, where the PSOE is increasingly concerned about public pressure from its partner. From United We Can defend that it is the only way to move those of Pedro Sánchez towards social positions.
The Ecological Transition responded to the complaints of United We Can, filtering that the ministry is preparing a royal decree but only to prohibit power outages. Those of Pablo Iglesias demand that water and gas be included and are optimistic because, they say, thanks to public pressure they managed to make something that until then they were told was not possible, was.
The manifesto demands that Teresa Ribera urgently carry a royal decree that includes “the precautionary principle, a tool that obliges supply companies to consult with the competent Social Services the situation of any family affected by a court notice and to guarantee their supplies in the event that it complies with specific vulnerability scales “.
In addition, they state that “the unpaid invoices that derive from the application of this mechanism will be paid, in accordance with a subsequent regulatory development, by a financing system participated 100% by the companies themselves of all the segments involved”
Likewise, a “redefinition of the figure of the vulnerable consumer” and “broadening the current access requirements in terms of income level is proposed, since they do not adjust to the social reality of Spanish citizenship and exclude a lot of families from cutting protection. ”