Disconnected, yet in the spotlight: Emergency research on extreme energy poverty in the Cañada Real informal settlement, Spain

Ulpiano Ruiz-Rivas, Sergio Tirado-Herrero, Raúl Castaño-Rosa, Jorge Martínez-Crespo

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkeliScientificvertaisarvioitu

4 Sitaatiot (Scopus)
23 Lataukset (Pure)


Cañada Real is a 15-km informal settlement located in Madrid, Spain. With over 8000 inhabitants most dwellers live below the poverty line in informal, low-quality housing. Due to the impossibility to have legal supply contracts with utility providers, Cañada Real settlers have relied on irregular connections to nearby electricity and water distribution networks for decades. However, in October 2020, technical changes implemented by the distribution system operator left some 4000 people without access to power, and more than two years later a large share of them remain in those conditions. Emergency research has been conducted to document the change in living conditions experienced by Cañada Real residents. Census data have been analysed together with primary data from a 39-household survey, data retrieved from electricity service continuity sensors and direct measurements of indoor thermal comfort in 12 households. This set of data provides unique evidence on the impact of a collective disconnection event of an unprecedented magnitude in an EU context. Results give evidence of a case of ‘extreme energy poverty’ that existing datasets and indicators fail to capture. The collective adaptation response displayed by a group of residents, who agreed on an intermittent, predictable disconnection schedule, highlights social fabric, self-organization and local capacities as resilience factors that provide temporary relief. Still, collective reconnection appears as a necessary first step to secure a minimum level of material living conditions. Political action is needed to modify the existing framework that marginalizes vulnerable dwellers as non-compliant customers, without any provisions against supply disconnections.

JulkaisuEnergy Research and Social Science
Varhainen verkossa julkaisun päivämäärä28 kesäk. 2023
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 2023
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä


  • Jufo-taso 2

!!ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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