Some 3.5 million Spaniards suffer from ‘energy poverty’ and cannot to pay for heating this winter.
THIS represents 7.6 per cent of the population and more than 10 per cent of the total number of Europeans (34 million) who will struggle to cover the cost of heating their homes over the next few months.
Autonomous communities Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Navarra have the highest percentage of people in a situation of ‘energy poverty’, according to data from the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
And in Madrid, 215,000 residents are in a ‘critical situation’, reveals the study from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), which equates to six per cent of the capital’s population.
Energy poverty is defined as a situation in which households cannot access essential energy services.
“Energy inefficiency is prevalent in older buildings, located in vulnerable residential areas. Many of them contain low-income households that do not have the possibility of reducing their consumption without total deprivation of their basic energy needs,” explained CSIC researcher, Fernando Martín-Consuegra.
High unemployment levels, the concentration of older people with low pensions and the high costs of energy bills are the main causes of ‘energy poverty’, according to the study.
In addition, there are other risk factors such as living in a poorly insulated building without adequate heating, as is the case in most buildings built before 1979, said CSIC.
“It is necessary to propose urban rehabilitation operations using public and European funds available for the ‘green transformation’ of the building sector”, added José Manuel Gómez Giménez, a researcher at the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
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