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Energy poor in Spain struggle amid high inflation and heatwave

A man looks out of a window in a housing block with air conditioning units on the outside in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016.
A man looks out of a window in a housing block with air conditioning units on the outside in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Copyright Paul White/AP Photo
Copyright Paul White/AP Photo
By Lauren Chadwick
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Euronews spoke with Monica Guiteras Blaya about the worsening energy crisis for those who can't afford to pay the bills.

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The situation for families and households struggling to pay their energy bills has worsened amid rising prices and the heatwave in Europe.

Monica Guiteras Blaya works in Barcelona with Enginyeria Sense Fronteres (Engineers without Borders Catalonia) to help vulnerable individuals to get information about how to reduce their energy bills.

"It's a very difficult situation for families and households in general," Guiteras Blaya told Euronews.

"But for those who are in a situation of energy poverty, it has worsened considerably because the lack of stability makes it very difficult for the families to organise (their daily spending)," she added.

Inflation was up to a new high of 8.6% last month, driven up mainly by energy prices across the eurozone, according to Eurostat.

In Spain, it's not just a question of heating homes over the winter but also one of soaring temperatures amid the climate crisis.

"We are talking about people not even being able to have the fans going all day long. Maybe they could, but they are afraid of what this would cost at the end of the day in their bills of the month."

Guiteras Blaya organises collective assemblies to empower people in energy poverty to get information and skills to address it.

She says there has been an increase of worried individuals who are seeking information and who don't have a support network.

She says that the cap on gas prices is not enough and that more structural change is needed so that families are not impacted by market changes.

"Energy, we believe, is a human right," she said.

Watch the interview in the video player above.

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