On 22 January, the metropolitan municipal districts were informed by AMB regarding the procedure for joining the Metropolitan Programme of Measures to combat Energy Poverty, a fund set up by the AMB last December that aims to avoid cuts in energy and water supplies due to a lack of economic resources and the consequent situations arising as a result.
The programme that has provisions of 5 M€ is structured around voluntary adhesion agreements with the metropolitan city halls and the service-providing companies, and is expected to come into effect over the coming days.
The meeting highlighted the cohesion and coordination of the municipalities that comprise the metropolis to tackle a common problem and was attended by the local councillors and technicians responsible for social services at the metropolitan city halls. “The city halls and companies are willing to adapt their internal procedures, to implement it as quickly as possible to reach out to the population in need”, indicated AMB sources, stating that cases of energy poverty have increased within the metropolitan area over recent years as a direct consequence of the economic crisis.
In parallel, over the past days, the AMB has been in talks with the management of the main utilities that operate in the metropolitan area (for water, Agbar; for gas, Gas Natural Fenosa; for electricity, Endesa). These utilities cover approximately 90% of all the consumption in the metropolitan area and all have demonstrated their willingness to adhere to the programme and to put it into effect it as soon as possible.
Along with the 5 M€ fund, that will remain in force until its economic provision has been completely used up, the AMB will create a documented information and training programme designed for people in the situation or at risk of energy poverty. This programme will handle the invoices, tariffs, options and resources offered by the public healthcare systems and the in-home service systems for the supply of water, gas and electricity. It will also include information and services regarding energy efficiency studies for the home and proposals for measures for intervention and refurbishment.
Support for social municipal policies
As part of the scope of the Metropolitan Action Plan (PAM) 2011-2015, this new energy poverty programme is one further action forming part of the Metropolitan Support Programme for Municipal Social Policies that between 2012 and 2015 has managed to create more than 3,000 jobs in the metropolitan area. It also compliments the Metropolitan Buildings Refurbishment and District Improvement Programme which, with an investment of 30 M€, opens the door to citizens to apply for subsidies, among other measures, to insulate homes and reduce costs.