The Energy Advice Points are a Barcelona City Council service that offers the necessary information, assistance and intervention for people to exercise their energy rights and prevents companies from denying them access to basic utilities.
In Barcelona, roughly 10% of the 1.6 million inhabitants live under conditions of energy poverty. These people are cold at home, unable to cook food or use their oven. Although there is work to be done at the political level – for example, electricity and gas are still taxed as luxury services – there is room for improvement on the consumers’ side by helping vulnerable consumers understand their bills and their rights under the current energy system. Catalonian law (Llei 24/2015) prohibits companies from disconnecting vulnerable households from electricity and natural gas supply and obliges them to maintain energy services when households are facing economic difficulties. Still in 2017, some people kept having their energy supply cut in Barcelona. The main challenge is the lack of information citizens have regarding their energy rights as well as how to reduce their bills without losing comfort.