Endesa has launched a pioneering project in Europe that will streamline the processing of energy poverty cases, thanks to blockchain technology. The CONFÍA project works in collaboration with Malaga City Council, where the pilot scheme will be developed. Today, the Mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, and the general manager of Endesa in Andalusia, Francisco Arteaga, announced the agreement reached to develop the project.
The agreement will also be presented tomorrow at Convergence - the Global Blockchain Congress, which is being held this week in Malaga (see agenda), and will bring together over 1500 members of the blockchain community including regulators, policy makers, influential industry figures and members of the social impact community from 11-13 November at the Trade Fair and Congress Center of Malaga (FYCMA).
At present, the process of notifying a customer about a supply cut involves several agents and has a complex information flow that delays the operation. This also prevents an overview of the status of the process in real time, which hinders the work of social agents who are closest to people in vulnerable situations.
Endesa sends information about supply cuts to the Autonomous Communities and they in turn transfer the data of the affected users to the municipal social services. On many occasions, social services are only informed of cases when they have advanced significantly and the people affected have themselves appealed to the City Council. These delays in information can even cause problems when it comes to payment of Social Rebates.
The use of blockchain technology eliminates many stages from the process, facilitating the direct flow of information. The City Council will be sent information in real time, and will instantly receive data from people who have received electricity cut-off notices due to non-payment. Social services will then instantly be able to cross reference this information with their own database and contact the company to avoid a supply cut if the customer is found to meet the criteria to benefit from the Social Rebate. This is provided to particularly vulnerable customers who are at risk of social exclusion.
Thanks to the CONFÍA project, the City Council will have access to information about those affected from the first instance that non-payments occur. This will even allow social services themselves to detect vulnerable customers and contact affected families to inform them about the social rebate, and not the other way around, which significantly speeds up all processing and improves the care that affected families receive.
Blockchain provides information from a database which is distributed to all those involved, in a secure and encrypted way, keeping operations consistent, in a transparent yet traceable way, in accordance with the regulations on data protection and the right to privacy. In addition, in future this project will allow the creation of a distributed network that other city councils and autonomous communities can join.
Today, Endesa will begin the technological development of the platform with the collaboration of the University of Malaga, and the project is expected to be fully operational within one year. The aim is that the initiative can then be extended to other city councils in Spain.
The CONFÍA project is part of Endesa's commitment to the fight against energy poverty. Since 2014, the company has signed many agreements with local/regional administrations and third sector entities to avoid supply cuts to customers who find themselves in energy poverty and who are certified by social services, as long as emergency aid is processed to provide payment of electricity or gas bills for those customers.
Today, Endesa has over 270 agreements in force, six of them with Autonomous Communities, five with Federations of Municipalities and the rest with city councils and associations. Thanks to all these agreements, Endesa can now offer protection to 100% of its most vulnerable customers.
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