Energy poverty, measured as the inability to keep the home adequately warm in winter, is an increasingly present reality among the Spanish population. In fact, Spain exceeds the average of the European Union (EU) in energy poverty.
According to data compiled by Eurostat, in 2020 (the last year for which there are homologated data at the European level) in Spain 10.9% of the population cannot afford to keep their homes heated at an adequate temperature.
The average percentage of energy poverty in the EU is 8.2%.
Rising energy prices in 2021 will not help reduce the rate of energy poverty, which in 2020 rose to 10.9% but was 7.5% in 2019 (before energy prices skyrocketed) and 9.1% in 2018, according to Eurostat. In other words, energy poverty rose 3.4 points in Spain in the last year reviewed.
The evolution of the data collected by the European statistical office denies that this is a problem in decline. And now, the alarming rise in gas and electricity prices before winter threatens to further increase energy poverty and to spoil the strategy of the PSOE-Podemos coalition government. Both parties pledged to end this problem when they agreed to come to power.
Meanwhile, the situation is even worse among families with the lowest income, meaning those whose income is less than 60% of the national average.
Among them, 22.3% say they cannot adequately heat their homes. In this case, the statistics show an increase of 2.7 percentage points compared to 2019.
The price of electricity in Spain continues to go through the roof. In October, the average price was 200 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) in the wholesale market.
The government does not rule out that gas prices will be high in international markets until well into next year.
The energy poverty situation varied across the EU Member States with the largest share of people saying that they were unable to keep their home adequately warm in Bulgaria (27%), followed by Lithuania (23%), Cyprus (21%), and Portugal and Greece (both with 17%).