Economy Christmas in the dark in Catalonia paid for electricity...

Christmas in the dark in Catalonia paid for electricity blackouts

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Neighbors of Sabadell have been without electricity for six weeks and cuts are proliferating in neighborhoods affected by poverty and drugs in other towns

Twenty days with up to ten hours without light in the Raval

The Government negotiates with Endesa while energy poverty persists

At the gates of a block without light in Sabadell, a young man shows a neighbor how a battery-operated lamp works. Any gadget that lights up is listed in the building, where they go for the sixth consecutive week in the dark. “I have the floor full of candles. I’m afraid that there is a fire,” acknowledges the woman. Every two days he goes to the apartment of some acquaintances to load up on the food they let him store in the fridge. They have also lent him a stove, cylinders and a stove to get out of the bad step, which has occurred with the cold. “I throw so many blankets over myself that I sink into bed. The temperature drops a lot at night,” he confesses.

Was the 12th of November when technicians of Endesa they moved after a police intervention and cut down the cable that fed the building by the roots. The company claims that 25 homes of the estate were in danger of connecting fraudulently. The splice was undone twice before, but it was remade. Then it broke out in summer, when it wasn’t so harsh to bear.

The neighbors had been punctured for about five years when laying. They claim that they got hooked after trying to regulate the supply, which was not done when the building was built. “We signed contracts to have meters but, when they were going to be installed, there was no connection,” he says María. Groping around the house with a flashlight, he shows the broken ice covering the food, the camping gas in which he cooks and the buckets in which he pours the water heated with butane to bathe. “I ordered a generator at town hall And we would pay for the diesel to make it work. They replied that they neither have nor can bring them, “he protests.

Endesa demands documentation to provide a provisional remedy, while the City Council sees it as risky to advance when the anomaly will be resolved. “It is desperate not knowing when we will have a normal life,” he complains Ana, which has acquired a small generator: “It costs 700 euros per month apart from gasoline, and it only runs for three or four hours. I use it for my son to turn on the computer and do homework. He has failed three subjects, because how can he study all the time with a flashlight? ”

Another challenge is no stay incommunicado. Ana’s cell phone drains the battery shortly after dark: “I charge it at work, but it doesn’t last all day. Others plug it in at the bar, at the hairdresser, at relatives’ houses …”.

Neighbors get used to the idea of ​​spending the holidays in the dark. From what they count, the current can take at least a month and a half to recover. Placing the connection costs almost 16.000 euros. “It’s a problem. There are people here who don’t even have enough to eat,” says Maria.

Conchi and Ariel they lack income. She has been unemployed since 2018 and it is difficult for her to find jobs in the black, as before the pandemic. A couple of weeks ago, Ariel went hospitalized for gas poisoning and the coupleâ € ™ s baby had to receive assisted breathing. “It was 15 minutes after a misfortune happened,” they testify. It happened when a generator started that burned badly and forced the houses to be vacated. It was transferred by landlords who rent part of the homes with a suspicious method: they collect them by hand and without a contract. They demanded 10 euros in exchange for connecting to the motor.

Unclear ownership of at least part of the property further entangles finding the solution. With such a scenario, Ramón does not want more punctures. “I see myself with the water around my neck with the Covid and they finish us off with light. What would go away in a month will go away in 10 days. We are fed up,” he says.

Other cases

The example of Sabadell is shocking because there are so many days without electricity, although in other areas it is lost for hours whenever the thermometers drop. Endesa quantifies 190 blackouts between November and December in the streets of the Culubret (Figueres), 160 in Font de la Pólvora (Girona) and 13 in the second week of this month in Sant Roc (Badalona). The company attributes this to the fact that the lines are disconnected to protect itself from overloads that links to marijuana crops and irregular hookups, of which it has dismantled more than 260 in all three neighborhoods this year.

Neighborhood platforms and Alliance Against Energy Poverty they reply that not everything is due to illegal plantations and that the obvious electricity that the network is poor in the three neighborhoods, weighed down by misery. The company responds that the installation is perfect and the maintenance is constant. “In our city hundreds of plants were detected in a building with nine floors in which consumption was as if there were 85 and there were no cuts in the area. The infrastructure is obsolete and there is fraud, but it has to do with energy poverty. tica, “says the mayor of Figueres, AgnÚs Lladó, who plans to stop paying bills to Endesa and deposit the payments in a court while the blackouts last.

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