Endesa and the Red Cross have renewed their alliance to combat energy poverty and to continue working together on two lines of action: Firstly, through the Energy Volunteering Programme, which is carried out together with the Endesa Foundation and the Ecology and Development Foundation (ECODES), and secondly, through the agreement not to cut off supplies to Endesa customers that the Red Cross has identified as being vulnerable.
Last year, the Red Cross joined as co-ordinator of Endesa's Energy Volunteering Programme, which it launched in 2015 together with the Endesa Foundation and ECODES. This represented a very important leap forward for its development, both due to additional volunteers joining the Endesa employees and early retirees already participating in the programme, and due to the expansion of the programme to the whole of Spain in the selection of the families benefitting from it.
In the last edition, the programme covered families in situations of vulnerability that were selected by the Red Cross and received advice and support to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
306 volunteers (180 from Endesa and 126 from the Red Cross) have participated in the programme, helping 2410 families—almost 20 times more than in the previous edition, with the number of beneficiaries exceeding 7200 people—and taking action on 14 points, compared with five in the previous edition: Zaragoza, Huesca, Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida, Girona, Mallorca (Alcudia), A Coruña (As Pontes), Seville, Malaga, Badajoz, Lanzarote, Tenerife (Candelaria) and Fuerteventura (Puerto del Rosario).
This Energy Volunteering Programme focuses on three types of interventions. The first is carried out by the Volunteer Trainer, who gives workshops to families, to explain how they can optimise their electricity bills, whether or not they are eligible for the social rebate, and how to reduce their energy consumption. In addition, beneficiaries, which universally applies to all families regardless of whether they are Endesa customers or not, receive an energy-efficiency DIY kit including draught excluders, LED bulbs, reflective panels, etc., with explanations on how they can use it to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
The second is televolunteering, through which personalised support is offered by telephone in order to optimise contracts and procedure management in line with the basic characteristics of the family structure, consumption habits and the household appliances in each home.
Finally, the third intervention is face-to-face support that the company has been developing through mixed teams of Endesa employees and Red Cross volunteers who visit elderly or disabled people who require personalised support. According to the Red Cross December 2018 bulletin on Social Vulnerability, 19.5% of the vulnerable households served were lived in by people over 65 years of age.
Personalised advice for families is compiled through an energy diagnostic tool, designed jointly by ECODES and Endesa, which makes individualised recommendations on efficient consumption habits, the optimisation of contracts (social rebate, reduction of power, etc.) and energy efficiency, on the basis of socio-economic data about the families and the characteristics of their homes and appliances.
In this last edition, 146 workshop sessions were given to 1715 families and 162 homes were visited in person. In addition to giving advice on bills and efficient consumption habits, the volunteers carried out an assessment of possible electrical risks in the homes. These were then corrected by accredited tradesmen. Of those dwellings, 62 in a higher risk situation had been renovated.
This third edition has revealed an awareness problem. 63% of the families met the requirements to benefit from the social rebate, but they were not receiving it. Volunteers informed them of this right and how to claim it. It is estimated that, following the implementation of bill optimisation measures and energy efficiency measures, beneficiaries can cut their energy bills by 25%, which would mean an average financial saving of 143 euro per household per year.
Within the framework of the "no cut off" agreement with other agencies, Endesa has committed not to cut off the energy supply (electricity and gas) of customers who have been identified by the Red Cross as being vulnerable. The NGO will help to cover the non-payment of bills. Thanks to this agreement, Endesa is able to fully protect its most vulnerable customers.
Finally, the agreement included an inspection of 10 Red Cross buildings. Endesa made a number of recommendations to modify their contracts and achieve more efficient consumption. After analysing all the buildings, the conclusion was made that a potential annual saving of 10,789 euro would be made if the power contracted in each of them were optimised.
The renewal agreement signed envisages action in the same number of areas, with the same collaborators (Endesa, the Endesa Foundation, the Red Cross and ECODES) and with a similar work plan, which will include the improvements identified in the last edition.