When Antonio Lopez received her first electricity bill was ice cream: “I couldn’t believe it, I thought I had been mistaken. After years of paying a fortune in Spain and Italy, where he had resided previously, it was not logical that I should ask for it 20 euros a month: 10 euros for electricity consumption and 10 other heating. There must be a mistake,” says this researcher of 34 years that he has lived for a little over two-and-a-half in Helsinki. How can it be that in a nordic country like Finland to pay three times less than in the Mediterranean countries when it is precisely here that the cold is much greater and the hours of light more scarce?
“The same is reflected when you view the invoice. In fact, before you receive the first notification of the payment I was scared by the saber you were going to give me, but, on the contrary, it is a luxury. At first I kept silent, did not call to ask the energy company, wanted to savor what I thought was a mistake of them, the first time that a multinational of this type is wrong in favor of the user. But he came the next invoice with the same number and I decided to ask a fellow Spanish also resides here. She told Me that she was the same, so that confirmed that it was not a confusion, but of which here the receipt is thrown in the price”, has this grenadian who works as a researcher and professor at the University of Helsinki.
The dwelling in which resides in the center of the Finnish capital has about 40 square meters and live alone except when she comes to visit him, his girlfriend, also a researcher, who is now at Oxford: “With receipts like this can live without worrying about when you will receive the invoice and if you can afford to pay. The most that I have come to pay 70 euros for three months of electricity and heating. In addition, and what is very positive, I have not noticed that the amount varies in function of the months of the year, it is virtually always the same,” he says. A difference more than noticeable with what this young man paid once in Spain: “In Madrid, lived in a house of about 50 square meters and paid about 70 euros a month, that is to say, the triple of what I charge in Helsinki. Is crazy”.
Although it claims not to have studied in detail the details of each invoice, infers that these “price bargain” is due to the high taxes in the nordic country. In fact, of their gross salary to he deducted each month approximately 1,300 euros, “And the payment with pleasure as they rolled back in my well-being. In addition, here the salaries are higher, so even if you pay a good amount in rates, the net wage remains even higher than in Spain. As a teacher and researcher I am charging around 2,200 euros, a figure unthinkable in a Spanish university for a professor who is not the holder. And if we talk about other jobs, for example, a cashier in a supermarket, do not charge less than 2,000 a month. So all the world can pay their bills and save”.
For this reason, the term of which we all speak when approaching the cold, the blissful energy poverty in Finland does not exist “because it is very strange that someone can’t afford 10 euros a month for the light, there are also tons of grants and aids for everyone to be able to comply with their obligations. The truth is that Finland performs very well in this regard. It is a pleasure to work with”.
Waiting for the “slam dunk”
The month of January has registered prices historically high of the electricity in Spain, before the accusations against the Government of PSOE and we Can not do anything to prevent it, and by the high taxes of light, when in opposition, severely criticized the PP by these climbs in the middle of winter. So while in Spain we prepare ourselves to receive the “stuck” energy in the next bill, which will give a good account of the snow and the cold of “Philomena”, in the nordic neighbours do not tremble faced with this uncertainty. “At the beginning, when I moved to Helsinki, controlling constantly the lights of home, and the hours that he had turned on the heating. During my stay in Italy and also in Spain and I killed each time they got their bill. Now, although I am careful, I do not watch all the time the lights are turned on. In addition here is the light of the day is very low. In these months the sun dawns on the nine and a half in the morning and evening at 14:00, so we work almost always with artificial light, as to be looking at if you give a little more or a little less,” argues Lopez.
A reality that contrasts with the living, for example, their parents in Guadix, Granada: “They have a heat pump to heat your floor. To be an electrical system and depend on the light you have to control a lot of the consumption to be able to take the subsequent payment. At the end are cold because they can’t afford to be many hours with the heating start-because then comes the bill and is descomunal”.
A case that feeds the alarming reports of energy poverty annually prepared by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition. In the latter it is stated that the 15% of Spanish households suffers temperatures inadequate, which means nearly seven million people suffering from energy poverty. The worst data is located in Castilla-La Mancha, Andalucía, Murcia and the Valencian Community. In 2019, 16.7% of the dwellings possessed an energy expenditure disproportionate, that is to say, an outlay of energy on income is more than double the national average. In addition, 7.6% of the population had problems to maintain their home to an adequate temperature during the winter and a 6,6% had delays in payment of bills of the supplies of the housing.
So Antonio, when faced with this exceptional situation of payment for energy in Finland and the good job that has gotten in their area of expertise as an archaeologist, do not think, for the moment, in returning to Spain. As well recognized as it breaks in a way, argued with the myths about the nordic countries: “We are not all day tucked in at home, we are now at -12 degrees and people are in the street. There are a lot of social life. It is true that the pandemic has reduced, as all over the planet, but in normal conditions there is not only party in Spain. Yes, here the alcohol is prohibitively expensive, only a pint of beer we paid six euros”, he says with grace. Will be that what the authorities Finnish “forgive” on the invoice of the light, I loaded it into the account of the bars.