Fuel poverty: associations are sounding the alarm

“Here, it’s a hassle in the summer, and it’s even more a hassle in the winter. » Zainaba Moindze and Mradabi Soilihi gradually became disillusioned after moving to the top floor of a 1990s HLM in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis). In winter 2021-2022, their gas bill fluctuated between 800 and 1,200 euros. Exorbitant sums for this couple who are raising four children, including a baby, with the sole salary of Mradabi, a maintenance worker. In their duplex, the windows and bay windows do not close properly, water is leaking in two places, there are no shutters, and the heaters are malfunctioning: Zainaba shows the broken thermostat of the living room radiator, two others no longer work, while heated towel rails overheat the bathrooms without it being possible to turn them off. As for the water heater, it turns off as soon as they take on hot water. By dint of calling, the couple was able to bring in a technician, who promised to change the radiators. Nothing happened. A registered letter sent on the advice of a representative of the Red Cross who came to carry out a diagnosis also had no effect. Despite the emergency help the couple were able to get, they have only just finished paying the rescheduled 2021 bills.

On the eve of the second Day against energy poverty, organized on Thursday 24 November, on the initiative of the Abbé Pierre Foundation, a symposium alerted to the increase in the number of people concerned, due to the rise in the price of energy. ‘energy. In total, 22% of households say they suffered from the cold at home last winter – they were only 14% in 2020, according to the barometer of the national energy ombudsman; and 27% report difficulties in paying certain energy bills, 9 points more than the previous year. The situation of the most fragile is particularly worrying: unpaid energy bills increased by 17% between 2019 and 2021, and have continued to increase since.

What solutions are provided? How can they be improved and consolidated?, wondered the participants in the symposium. The main emergency device, the price shield, froze regulated gas prices and limited the increase in electricity prices to 4% for households with individual heating. “But it is much less protective for all those in collective heating”, insisted Emmanuelle Cosse, president of the Social Union for the habitat, which federates the HLM organizations. In addition, the price shield ceiling will be raised to 15% in January, which will increase monthly bills by around twenty euros.

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