Historic agreement to write off over 35,000 Catalan families's debt with Endesa
The company agrees to assume 73% of the unpaid bills of vulnerable households since the Catalan law on fuel poverty came into force
Since 2015, the Catalan law on energy poverty has prevented supply companies from cutting off electricity to vulnerable families. In all this time, however, public administrations and companies have not specified who has to take charge of the unpaid bills. This, in practice, has caused the debt to grow to €38.7m, according to Endesa. This Monday, however, a historic agreement has been announced after years of tug-of-war between the parties involved: a formula has been found to write off the over 35,000 families's debt with the utility company.
According to the pact made public today, Endesa will assume 100% of the unpaid bills of these families between July 2015 and December 2018. The debt accumulated between 2019 and 2020, which amounts to more than €21m, will be shared equally between the company and the different administrations involved. In total, it is estimated that Endesa will assume around 28.1 million euros (73% of the debt incurred by families since the Law 24/2015 came into force) and the Generalitat and other administrations, the remaining €10.6m.
As for future non-payments, it has been agreed to create a Solidarity Care Fund, which will enable those affected to pay less for their bills. The aim is not only to write off existing debts, but also to avoid new debts. Endesa and the administrations will contribute 50% to this fund.
The Aliança contra la Pobresa Energètica has shown its satisfaction with the agreement announced today. "The wait has been worth it: today we are laying another stone to eradicate energy poverty in Catalonia," they said. After the great milestone achieved with the approval of Law 24/2015, which they remember was driven through as a citizens' initiative and prohibited for the first time supply to vulnerable households to be cut, this Monday "the first energy company in number of customers in Catalonia has given in and signed an agreement, which five years ago was totally unthinkable"