About 22.1% of Spanish households suffering energy poverty include unemployed members, versus 7.1% of households that are not in such circumstances between the years 2011 and 2017. This is one of the main observations of the study Energy Poverty in Spain: Approach from an Income Perspective, prepared by the Chair of Energy Sustainability of the Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB). The study, published by the Naturgy Foundation, was presented in the seminar “Policies and Measures to Address Energy Poverty” that was held in Madrid on 4 November 2019.
The research addresses energy poverty from the income side of households, based on an economic analysis of the relationships between energy poverty, energy consumption and aspects linked to household incomes. In this regard, the study concludes that this is a complex problem that needs to be evaluated from different perspectives.
The study argues that energy poverty is another dimension of poverty, with a common starting point: the inadequacy of family incomes to cover expenses, which in the case of energy implies the ability to maintain an acceptable temperature level in homes and have decent living conditions.
Taking from the research conducted by the Chair of Energy Sustainability, a profile of Spanish households in energy poverty can be characterized as follows: situated in the rural areas, or areas with low population density; under a rental system, in buildings aged 25 years or older and in areas with extreme weather conditions of heat and cold; are single-person or single-parent and largely female-headed households.
Likewise, the unemployment status of the main breadwinner is the most important determinant of energy poverty. In addition, among those living with energy poverty, the percentage of families who have completed higher education is often low.
This study has been led by María Teresa Costa-Campi, Professor of the University of Barcelona, and undertaken by Elisa Trujillo-Baute and Elisenda Jové-Llopis, members of the IEB.