How Françoise or Philippe cut their electricity bill by three

FIGARO TOMORROW – This November 24, the National Day Against Energy Poverty is marked by a conference of the Abbé Pierre Foundation and trophies awarding the best solutions to this problem. The opportunity to highlight devices to reduce the bill.

Three years ago, their electricity bill blithely exceeded 2000 euros per year and yet they were cold in their 70 square meter house located in the small town of Estrées-Saint-Denis in the Oise, where they have inherited. Poorly maintained, it had become almost uninhabitable and one of their sons was hospitalized five times for asthma. After 60,000 euros of work, financed by aid, the consumption of Bruno and Françoise was divided almost by four (3.7) and their bill almost as much. A zero-rate loan enabled the couple to cover their remaining charge (around 1,800 euros). But this former employee of a DIY store for 39 years, retired for two years, and his wife, who provided part-time jobs, both on disability following health problems and in a precarious situation , would never have considered undertaking such a project on their own.

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For their part, Philippe, a former soldier who became a country guard in Clairoix (Oise), retired, and Lydiane, a housewife who has never been able to find work following a car accident which caused her to lose an eye, lived recluse, without a vehicle, in a rural and damp house of 80 square meters leaning against a hill, where mold rubbed shoulders with water infiltrations in the bathroom. They endured the 15 degrees in winter despite their health problems and high electricity bills. It took three years before Philippe accepted a visit from Secours Catholique to their accommodation. After 70,000 euros of work, including the installation of electric inertia radiators and the insulation of wood fiber walls, the latter went from category G to D on the scale of the energy performance diagnosis (DPE) , thanks to aid, and a remaining charge limited to 1,400 euros.

The impact of this type of renovation is not only comfort and reduction of the bill, it also improves the health of the occupants and to have a new social life when they no longer have ashamed of their accommodation

Franck Billeau, director of the Eco Habitat Network

“The impact of this type of renovation is not only comfort and lower bills, it also improves the health of the occupants and allows them to have a social life again when they don’t have to. no longer ashamed of their homes,” explains Franck Billeau, director of the Eco Habitat Network, which he founded in 2014 in Hauts-de-France to help improve housing. Thus, the two children of Elisa, prone to recurrent bronchitis, are no longer sick since their renovation. Some have reduced their antidepressants, others have gone back to the hairdresser because they have better self-esteem and sometimes even found a job. As for Bruno and Françoise, they can once again receive their grandchildren at home.

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Many households in fuel poverty are able to benefit from this type of support, but few take the plunge. “Owners think they are not entitled to any help and are often afraid of being taken in by craftsmen, just as the latter are wary of homes they suspect of not being solvent”, emphasizes Franck Billeau. Hence the importance of support systems, which establish trust on both sides and facilitate contact with MaPrimeRénov’, Anah, local authorities, associations (Abbé Pierre Foundation, Secours Catholique ..), private actors (Leroy-Merlin Foundation for example in the case of Philippe and Lydiane) and social protection groups such as AG2R.

The emergence of a new profession, solidarity assembly

“We can eliminate thermal sieves within ten years. But that supposes learning to collaborate better between different organizations. Hence the emergence of a new profession, solidarity assembler“says Gilles Berhault, general delegate of Stop energy exclusion. Ten people from the world of building or social work are currently trained in this new profession, consisting of supporting a family from start to finish in renovating their home, from setting up the financing dossier to carrying out the work, including quotes and technical solutions to imagine.

The Companion Builders also participate in this dynamic, with one specificity: this association involves the inhabitants, at least in part, when possible, in their construction site (self-rehabilitation), which makes it possible to reduce the overall budget a little.

12 million French people affected by fuel poverty

Even before the war in Ukraine and the soaring prices, 20% of households, or 12 million French people, were in a situation of fuel poverty. The occupants of the 5.2 million thermal sieves in the French fleet of main residences, classified F and G on the scale of the energy performance diagnosis (DPE) are the first concerned. The number of unpaid bills has already increased by 17% between 2019 and 2021, leading to nearly 300,000 power outages. Energy prices having jumped for households by 28% in the second quarter of 2022, compared to the same period of the previous year, new audiences are concerned. With the gradual end of the tariff shield and the new 15% increase expected on gas and electricity at the beginning of 2023, this energy crisis will undoubtedly overturn new households living on less than ten euros per day and per person in precariousness, as the speakers at the symposium organized by the Abbé Pierre Foundation today will emphasize.

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Hence the mobilization around the subject, on the occasion of the Day against fuel poverty, which takes place today, November 24th. Launched in 2021 by around twenty organizations involved in the subject, this second edition is an opportunity to raise awareness throughout the territory, through various events. And the solutions exist. The collective Stop to energy exclusion – bringing together fifty actors – aims to get one million people out of energy poverty each year. The 2022 trophies for solutions against energy poverty that it organizes will be unveiled today, November 24 at the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

Save money while providing heat to the poorest

With its minimum one thousand watt electricity service guaranteed to all customers, without power cuts, the green energy supplier Plum Énergie was the 2021 winner, in the financing category.

Screenshots of the application of the start-up Don de Heat gift of warmth

This year, the impact start-up Don de Chaleur is a candidate in the same category. The latter allows everyone, via an application launched on November 7, to take up a series of daily and fun challenges to engage in energy sobriety. “People are focused on heating, but an eco-friendly shower head can reduce water consumption – and therefore the hot water tank or boiler – by up to 50%”underlines Matthieu Sattler, co-founder of the start-up.

Electric generators for displaced populations in Ukraine

Thanks to these eco-gestures, each kWh saved not only lowers each participant’s bill but also feeds a solidarity pot in support of one of the five projects that the latter chooses, topped up by partner suppliers: Stop Energy Exclusion, Habitat and Humanism, Emmaus Solidarity, Ulisse Energy and Electricians Without Borders, which provides electric generators to displaced people in Ukraine. Today, 200,000 euros of financial commitments already make it possible to consider financing several projects between now and Christmas. Enough to “promoting a new form of on-board generosity”emphasizes Matthieu Sattler.

Solinergy, the foundation of the Effy group, will for its part distribute to five thousand households in a situation of fuel poverty emergency kits composed of items such as shower regulators, insulating seals for windows, E27 bulbs or an eco-friendly guide. . And this via grassroots associations such as Soliha, Red Cross Insertion and Habitat & Humanisme.

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