Victim of energetic poverty: "I lived 20 days with candles, with my two children, one of them dependent"

 

 

I cooked with a gas camping thing and my children got sick. It was midwinter

Sandra could not stop crying when she saw the case of Rosa, the old woman from Reus who died after a fire that caused a candle. “I had an ugly, ugly time.” She knew what it was like to have power cut off due to non-payment . Between December 2 015 and January 2016 he lived with his children 20 days without light and without water. “More than once the candle fell on me, I cooked with a gas camping thing and my children got very sick, it was midwinter.”

Sandra’s light was cut “without warning”, despite her situation of extreme vulnerability: she had no income, she is a victim of sexist violence and has two dependent children, one of whom is disabled, after “so much struggle and thanks to the advice of the Alliance against Energy Poverty (APE) “, lives in a flat for victims of gender violence in Barcelona and helps those who suffer the energy drama.

“Information is everything, that your life depends on electricity when you can not pay is like living under the slavery of a great monster, ” says this 41-year-old immigrant from Argentina, the information she refers to and which according to her “saved his life”, is the Catalan law against energy poverty, an autonomous rule, unique in the national territory, which prohibits making power cuts to people in situations of vulnerability, however, cases such as the old Reus, has questioned its compliance by suppliers.

“Now I have a debt with Endesa of 500 euros, which was suspended for a year, but I still claim it. Now I am in court, “he explains.

“It is a sinvivir, the great electricians can have dominion in your life”

The last winter was not the first cut that Sandra lived , with the consequent expense that entails the new activation of the supply: “In each court they charge you 30 euros. You call a pay phone, nobody takes care of you, you speak a machine and they play you little music. ” “Then you spend what you do not have to pay for the re- engagement and wait, return to claim. It is a sinvivir. The big electric can cut the light and have dominion in your life, “he says.

It is of an absolute coldness. They make you feel guilty about not having money. Did I deserve to be like this?

Sandra criticizes the lack of information on the part of the energy companies: “As one does not know … Until I found the APE and they advised me. Not even the electricity supplier informs you of the help you have. It is as if everything was a taboo subject. We have to have a right to know what options we have when we are in this situation. It is of an absolute coldness. They make you feel guilty about not having money . Did I deserve to be like this? “

After being evicted for not being able to pay the rent, she lives in an emergency floor of the Barcelona City Council, with an aid of 426 euros per month, an economic amount that makes her live in a precarious situation, but with something more of tranquility: “Now I have some peace”.

Now Sandra uses her experience to help others in her situation : “I meet a lot of people who have this problem, the soup kitchen is full of people with this situation”.

“I’m telling it, I had a very bad time, will this be nothing? I do not know, but to pass, it happens … every day, to a lot of people “.

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