6 December, 2021
Stories from the front lines: “Fighting harassment from energy companies”
Kerly, from Badalona, was facing harassment from energy companies due to her energy debt, receiving threatening phone calls and letters. The situation was affecting her mental health — she felt more and more anxious about facing legal action, and was considering going without essential needs like food or medical care to pay these debts.
Kerly got in touch with APE. The organisation helped her make the connection between her individual story and structural inequality. APE encouraged her to defend her rights, and report the company’s behaviour and harassment activities to the Catalan Consumer Agency and the Catalan Ombudsman. Kerly now feels inspired to help others in similar conditions, to help them realise they deserve better.
Very few countries have implemented safeguards to limit disconnections and prevent the accumulation of energy debt– which puts millions at risk as energy prices continue to skyrocket. Catalonia is a leading example of how we can work to deliver the right to energy as a human right across Europe and challenge neoliberal energy companies. To effectively ensure the right to energy for all, the Right to Energy coalition demands a ban on disconnections and the supply of a minimum amount of energy for all.
The Alliance against Energy Poverty (APE) is a grassroots movement founded following the 2008 economic crisis to defend the right to energy for all. Their demands include writing off energy debts, a just transition for workers and communities, fair energy prices for all, and new laws to regulate private energy companies. You can follow them here, and read Cristina and Víctor’s stories.