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Spain anger over ‘energy poverty’ deaths

November 22, 2016

By Paul Homewood   


H/Ts Joe Public/Wolsten




From the BBC:


Spain’s economy may be recovering, but the recent deaths of a 12-year-old girl and an 81-year-old woman in house fires are reminders of the hardship that millions of households still face in the country’s deep-rooted crisis.

"Rosa PV" (as she is described in the media) died alone, choking on fumes from a fire started by one of the candles she used for light in her flat in the city of Reus, south of Barcelona, early last Monday.

It emerged that her electricity had been cut off for non-payment of bills. Rosa’s solitary plight caused protesters’ voices to be raised in unison against energy poverty as winter approaches.

There have been demonstrations of sorrow for Rosa and anger at the failure of the authorities to take care of such an elderly citizen, in Reus, Barcelona and elsewhere this week.

The leader of the anti-austerity Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, said his "blood was boiling" over the failure of Spain’s administrations to stop companies cutting off basic supplies to the vulnerable.

A week before the death of Rosa, fire also claimed the life of 12-year-old Lucia Fuoli after an apparent short-circuit. The blaze was possibly caused by the use of a defective electric heater and it engulfed the fifth-floor Zaragoza apartment.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Firefighters inspect the charred window of the Zaragoza building where 12-year-old Lucia Fuoli died in a house fire

The fire in the living room cut off Lucia and her father from the door to the apartment. Clambering out of a patio window at the back of the building, seeking safety from the flames, Lucia slipped and fell while her father helplessly watched, clinging on to a television antenna.

"In November temperatures go down and people need more heating. Sadly in many homes, families simply cannot meet the costs of this increased expense," said Fernando Cuevas, head of a project for the extremely vulnerable, run by the NGO Cruz Roja (Red Cross).

Spain is set to end 2016 with GDP growth above 3% for the second year running, but with unemployment still standing at 19% and low-wage temporary jobs making up the majority of new posts. The poorest remain extremely vulnerable.

"We attended to 500,000 people in extreme poverty in 2013 and last year that was up to 650,000," says Mr Cuevas. "The macroeconomic statistics are just not reaching the homes of the most vulnerable."

In 2014, 11% of Spanish families, or some five million people, could not afford to heat their homes adequately in the winter months, according to a study by the country’s Environmental Science Academy. The study found that the average price of gas and electricity had increased by 67% and 73% respectively, since the onset of Spain’s economic crisis in 2008.


Strangely, there is no mention from the BBC of the contribution of renewable energy to the problem.

In compliance with Directive 2001/77/EC, Spain established that 29% of gross electricity consumption be produced from renewable energy sources by 2020. To achieve this, the Spanish government set up various subsidies for renewable operators, but the cost of these subsidies simply added to the government’s deficit.

Eventually, in 2012, the government was forced to start passing some of this cost onto electricity consumers. In particular, a tax of 7% was imposed on electricity production.


Retail electricity prices in Spain are not the highest in Europe; that privilege is reserved for Denmark and Germany. Nevertheless, they are higher than in the UK.





There are many economic problems in Spain, and fuel poverty certainly is not a simple issue. But deliberately adding to energy costs, so as to pay subsidies for renewable energy, can only exacerbate the problem.

But you won’t hear that from the BBC. 





Detail on Spain’s electricity market reforms is here, Page 19

  1. markl permalink
    November 22, 2016 6:51 pm

    It’s only the beginning. More to come and no one will be held responsible.

    • November 23, 2016 7:39 am

      Yes, there are a lot of highly subsidised renewable energy schemes in the pipeline which will add hugely to electricity bills for all consumers.

  2. AlecM permalink
    November 22, 2016 6:58 pm

    Just imagine the death toll in the cold UK as we enter the new LIA.

    I want charges of Corporate Manslaughter brought against controlling Ministers.

    • Tom O permalink
      November 23, 2016 3:42 pm

      Personally, I think you need to look passed the ministers and charge their “owners.” They are merely bought and paid for facilitators. Look at who is making the real money, and those are the people that need to be charged. Until you look passed the patsies and go after the perpetrators, things will only get worse.

      Oh darn. I forgot. That takes two things that western nations don’t really have – concerned and active citizens along with honest politicians. The first are there until the first entertaining distraction comes along, and the second are there until the first “fat wallet” says “come here ,son, I’ve got a deal for you.”

  3. David Richardson permalink
    November 22, 2016 7:04 pm

    A very sensible piece over at Roy Spencer’s Blog –

    Doc.Spencer underlines how the insistence of those in the “Climate Change” industry that their science is settled and sound is a “Hoax” and needs to be viewed with sceptism. The time has surely come for more balance to return to the debate – science needs to be once again self-correcting.

    I have long thought that some in the climate science field might eventually go to prison – they have blood on their hands. The so called precautionary principle with AGW is not a zero-sum game, they are trading with lives today against a future we cannot predict and are unlikely to affect much, whatever we do.


    • Broadlands permalink
      November 22, 2016 7:36 pm

      David… “… they are trading with lives today against a future we cannot predict and are unlikely to affect much, whatever we do.”

      They HAVE predicted and their “settled science” forecasts are for “catastrophe”. But, their plan to “mitigate” all this is completely hopeless and will accomplish nothing for the climate. That’s where the “blood” will be on their hands when the proverbial fan gets hit with their crazy plan to eliminate emissions and follow it with removing 100 gigatons of CO2 to store it somewhere. Insanity!

      • CheshireRed permalink
        November 23, 2016 10:33 am

        There’s only one game in climate town and that is ‘catastrophe’. Remember folks, ‘unless we announce catastrophe nobody will listen’.

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 22, 2016 8:00 pm

    I’m guessing that home insulation is a lower priority in Spain.

    • November 22, 2016 8:14 pm

      I think the reverse is true.

      In Spain they go for thick walls, small windows etc (at least in older buildings) to keep the heat out in summer.

      The cororally of course is better insulation in winter

    • richard verney permalink
      November 23, 2016 10:27 am

      I would guess that in properties built before 2000 there is no insulation. Perhaps even in properties built before 2005. I have commented a bit on this below.

  5. November 22, 2016 8:09 pm

    Its not just the direct cost of renewable subsidies, they have forced the energy companies to act as extensions of social services, dealing with people who can’t pay enough (providing pay-as-you-go meters), and with people who won’t pay, dealing with bailiffs, social services, Human Rights lawyers, etc, the cost of all that gets added to bills.

    The scary Tom Heap was in full scare mode this evening on Costing The Earth (radio 4), they don’t bother to hide their approach, which is that it is We (who believe in the science) versus Them (who don’t), “They” are sometimes allowed to speak, but only to allow Us to shoot them down (so say Us), with no right of reply. Tonight it was about rallying the troops, and producing a strategy to deal with the awful Trump and his band of deniers. Yes, the d-word is once again being freely deployed … against probably 50% of the audience.

  6. Terbreugghen permalink
    November 22, 2016 8:12 pm

    Let no tragedy go to waste when you have an agenda. the fact is that unless the power was free, some folks will choose not to pay their power bills for a variety of reasons, not any money is one of them. I’d say it’s a disgusting use of a tragic event to further a destructive political cause. Shame on them.

  7. manicbeancounter permalink
    November 22, 2016 8:28 pm

    This is just the start. The UNIPCC AR5 forecast that global GHG emissions will be over 2.5 times higher in 2100 than in 2010 without policy. According to these expert scientists to be within the 2C warming limit global emissions need to rapidly decrease to near zero well before 2100.
    Professor Richard Tol has calculated the global carbon tax (the optimal policy) needed to meet the emissions target. From an initial $210 per tonne of CO2 equivalent in 2020, it would rise need to rise in real terms by 5-6% a year. At $210, with no drop in demand, the tax on fossil fuel emissions alone would be nearly 10% of global output. The tax would make petrol, gas, and coal unaffordable. The hardest hit would be the high-growth emerging economies.

    Such a global carbon tax will not happen, but in many countries where the policy lunacy is imposed it is the poor and the vulnerable who will suffer the most.

  8. John Fuller permalink
    November 22, 2016 10:23 pm

    Very sad, but the BBC won tell you the real reason for the energy poverty.

    Love xxx

  9. tom0mason permalink
    November 23, 2016 4:42 am

    “Spain’s economy may be recovering, but the recent deaths of a 12-year-old girl and an 81-year-old woman in house fires are reminders of the hardship that millions of households still face in the country’s deep-rooted crisis.”

    More martyrs on the unreliability pyre of crazy energy policies.

    • tom0mason permalink
      November 24, 2016 3:53 am

      The usual rule of supplying electric power to the consumer via a grid is :-
      customer demand = total generated power
      not more not less.

      Customers’ demand dictates how much power is required.
      Of course that only works as long as you do not make customers an optional connection to the grid.

      That is the main problem with all this unreliable power —
      customers’ requirements become subservient to the problems of generation.

  10. Graeme No.3 permalink
    November 23, 2016 5:02 am

    I hope that the UK & Europe have a moderate winter rather than what looks likely. Severe cold coupled with the disastrous policies in the UK will result in tens of thousands of deaths. It should not and will not be swept under the carpet as in previous years.
    It would be a waste of time prosecuting the leading Public Servants for they will always claim to have been following orders, even if it makes them appear as utterly incompetent.

    Therefore the Ministers involved should be charged. They will get off but at least they will be exposed in court to the sort of questioning they should have faced in Parliament, and more importantly the sort of questions they themselves should have asked. That at least will end any political life for them.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 23, 2016 2:06 pm

      Sadly we need a long brutally cold winter with lots of blackouts and a shortage of gas to make the idiots take notice that their policy is mental. As for who to blame – the climate Change Act was voted through by the whole house full of idiots bar a couple of exceptions.

  11. November 23, 2016 7:45 am

    I had already tweeted a somewhat shorter complaint to @bbcnews along similar lines but strangely it hasn’t been “liked”….

  12. Green Sand permalink
    November 23, 2016 9:42 am

    9:40am 23/11/16

    Coal, nuc and gas maxed out, wind 0.7gw. Similar weather conditions forecast for the next week and its not winter yet!

  13. richard verney permalink
    November 23, 2016 10:22 am

    Spain has very high energy costs.

    Unlike the UK, Spain imposes VAT (IVA) at the full rate of 21 or 22% on the supply and this greatly adds to the expense.

    It does not have mains gas. Gas is for the main part bottled such that it is very expensive, and one incurs considerable cost replacing the bottles, eg., just popping down to the garage to collect a bottle.

    Energy usage is high. In the summer AC is required. In late Autumn through to Spring, houses are very cold because they have no insulation and the tile floors are extremely cold to walk on.

    I have a holiday home in Spain. In Winter the lounge gets up to about 20 degC whilst the sun is shinning. But come 5pm it is at about 13 deg C. Come 7 or 8 pm and it is at about 8 deg C. It has a lot of windows (on 3 sides), without double glazing and it is about 55 sq m, nominally 26 feet by by 22 feet, with high ceilings and takes a lot of heating keep warm.

    Apart from the lounge, my house during the day is generally colder inside than it is outside.

    People think that being in a warm climate does not require heating in winter and retirees ought not get the winter fuel allowance. However, energy usage in Spain is far more because properties have no insulation, require Air Con in the Summer and are cold in the winter. My house in the UK is far less cold in the winter than my house in Spain.

    Europe badly needs to get down its energy price. Energy is a basic need and the costs relative to disposal income is way too high.

  14. November 23, 2016 1:39 pm

    Reblogged this on Patti Kellar and commented:
    It’s only a matter of time before we experience similar tragedies in Ontario.

    • R2Dtoo permalink
      November 23, 2016 2:45 pm

      Canadian energy is a mess. Quebec and Manitoba are hydro-based, efficient and reliable. Both provinces sell excess to other jurisdictions. Ontario has basically destroyed their power system and, indeed, could have some real problems. Alberta has started down the path of wind and solar while sitting on vast reserves of natural gas that could efficiently power the province. That will not last as the Premier’s popularity has nose-dived. In essence, Canada has embarked on an expensive, inefficient and potentially deadly path of unreliable energy. I am now convinced that the dumbest person in the world is a Canadian who objects to global warming! Instead, we travel in droves to Florida, Texas, Arizona, Socal, and the Caribbean: snowbirds. Even most feathered birds are smart enough to migrate. Low-income folks are vulnerable. So where were the First Nations people when Trudeau gave away $2.6B to the UN to assist other nations?

  15. Neil van Dokkum permalink
    November 23, 2016 1:59 pm

    Reblogged this on The Law is my Oyster.

  16. November 23, 2016 2:22 pm

    I guess Sir David Attenborough might find solace in this.

  17. Athelstan permalink
    November 23, 2016 3:04 pm

    I am, though I try hard to smother it, to stymie my pragmatic cynicism, I do, I really try so hard to enter the thought processes, it’s cognitive dissonance of a snowflake BBC reporter but logic and cold hard reality always bite me back and shit I have to wake up.

    This report, notwithstanding this harrowing tale of a terrible and very unnecessary for want of a half decent and cheap energy supply – of two most unfortunate people and may God rest their souls – is an awful example.

    But and this is a big but, the obvious is out there, why do we never have balanced reports? Haven’t they been trained, aye trained to look the other way more likely.

    Alack this biased crap – reportage from our major broadcaster, I mean it’s hard to miss, an elephant in the room – sorry about the onerous and very tired cliche ….no actually I’m not sorry at all because, it is such an apt analogy – in synopsis exactly what PC [political correctness is] and the al beebzoids so ardently adhere to – they are scum and Socialist scum at that.

    All it takes is, a little research…………….

    President Obama once frequently touted Spain’s green energy economy. No longer. That’s no surprise given how things have worked out for the economically beleaguered country.

    According to a new report by the free-market Institute for Energy Research, Spain’s green energy policies have resulted in skyrocketing electricity prices, billions of euros in debt and rising carbon dioxide emissions.

    “For years, President Obama has pointed to Europe’s energy policies as an example that the United States should follow,” said IER in a statement on their new study. “However, those policies have been disastrous for countries like Spain, where electricity prices have skyrocketed, unemployment is over 25 percent, and youth unemployment is over 50 percent.”

    Spain began heavily subsidizing green energy sources, like wind and solar, in the early 2000s with its“Promotion Plan for Renewable Energies. The country used a combination of generous feed-in tariffs, green energy generation quotas and green power subsidies to boost renewable energy development in the country and lower its carbon dioxide emissions.

    Follow the links.

    Try to believe if you are able, to credit the insanity of the EU/Spanish Green energy disaster and then you will see the outfall of such, what is so disturbing where nationally a whole political clique because of loyalty to a foreign entity and in ignorance of the true costs – went ahead and did it anyway. know it would fail but against logic and science…………………. expecting to succeed – and that’s called: madness.

    But then, the Spanish government, the barmy burghers in Brussels, the dicksplash reporters in the al beebcentre – never join the dots because they do not want to go there and see the reality it’s almost as if they shut their minds to it – as a child does and humming a nah, nah, nah, nah – a stupid green tune.
    Aye, taste despair of idiot policies and of Socialism – it’s the same thing as the western ‘little red book carriers’ in the 60’s those Maoist besotted lunatics and did they not ignore the consequences of Mao’s cultural revolution?

    YES – you bet they did and its the same thing today, different time, different agenda, but it all results in the same outcome because of the same old stupidity.

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