the scourge of fuel poverty

When she hears this noise – something like “kch, kch” – she does not feel ” not good “. It is, however, a daily noise. That of the automatic triggering of a boiler. “Everyday anxiety, because the bill will fall”, summarizes Justine Drag, 34, ironer. Gas, electricity, fuels: his concern grows at the same time as prices. “I don’t heat myself the way I want. I’m cold at home. I put on my bathrobe, a big waistcoat, a big sweater. “ Heating? “As I live on my own, I lower it to 16 ° C”. Except when she babysits her two daughters. “I then feel obliged to raise it to 19 ° C, obliged to function like a normal household. I tell myself that they don’t have to endure the cold of my house. ”

In France, 5.6 million households shiver at home – around twelve million people, which is almost a fifth of the population. The count certainly dates from 2013, but the National Energy Poverty Observatory did not fail to recall it on the occasion of the first national day against this scourge, Wednesday 10 November.

According to a law of 2010, is in a situation of fuel poverty any household encountering “Particular difficulties” to satisfy “Basic needs”. Either because of financial difficulties preventing, for example, from heating and lighting as much as necessary, or because of poor thermal insulation in the home, or, as here, for these two reasons at the same time.

Mme Drag accepted our meeting at the communal social action center, in the shopping street of Somain (North), between Valenciennes and Douai. At her side, two other single mothers prefer to simply give their first names: Linda, 49, interim order picker, and Melinda, 37, former home help, in professional retraining. “Even if you heat less, notes the latter, my bills are still going up. At the bottom of the invoice, there is a kind of graph. I can see that I consumed less, but unfortunately I gave more at the end. Heat more, on a budget, I can not. ”

“A financial pit for families”

With the recovery of global activity, energy prices are soaring, but not household resources. Melinda lives on little. Every month she touches around “700 euros to 800 euros”. The Northerner is heated by electricity and oil. Even before the harshness of winter, its bill is already progressing: “About 120 euros” per month, against “A little less than 100 euros” one year ago.

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