What is life like when you suffer from the cold at home? This week, franceinfo gives the floor to modest French people who are struggling to warm themselves.
What was the temperature in your apartment this morning when you woke up? At Isabelle Martin, we oscillated between 10 and 15 ° C, depending on the room. Every winter, this inhabitant of Saint-Caradec (Côtes-d’Armor) suffers from the cold in her house, in poor condition, which she has occupied for more than 20 years. She is far from the only one in this situation. To shed light on the difficulties of the 12 million French people who are victims of fuel poverty, franceinfo launched the # LesMalC Chaudés operation. We will explain everything to you.
What exactly is energy poverty?
Every winter, fuel poverty affects people who struggle to heat their homes, due to low income or a home in poor condition. This concept has only officially existed since it was incorporated into law in 2010, with the following definition:
Various criteria can be taken into account to estimate the number of people concerned in France. This ranges from purely economic data (how much of the household budget is spent on energy costs?) To more subjective statements (were you cold at home this winter?).
In its latest report on poor housing, the Abbé-Pierre Foundation estimates that energy poverty, in the broad sense, affects 12 million people. But, according to the association, “The hard core of fuel poverty, made up of low-income households who have been cold for reasons linked to poverty, amounts to 3,558,000 people”.
Why devote a special operation to it?
Energy poverty, suffered by millions of people in France, is an unknown and invisible problem. The poorly heated often suffer from their situation in silence, behind the walls of their accommodation, out of sight. – and away from assistive devices. Many of them hide their difficulties from those around them.
The problem is much bigger than the simple feeling of cold. It can have serious consequences on the social, professional and educational life of the people concerned. Their health is also threatened, as this infographic from EDF’s medical studies department explains.
Franceinfo therefore hands the microphone to the victims of fuel poverty, some of whom have had the courage to testify and open their doors to us. These portraits, accompanied by analyzes by specialists and public actors, should challenge the challenges of energy renovation – with particular resonance in the light of the current climate emergency context.
What does this operation consist of?
This week we are publishing three testimonials from people who are victims of fuel poverty. Their words, collected by our journalist Yann Thompson, are accompanied by photographs taken by photojournalist Pierre Morel, immersed in the homes of the people concerned.
>> TESTIMONIAL. “I don’t dare invite people to my home”: Fabienne tells how the cold weakened her health and her social life
>> TESTIMONIAL. “It’s 6 ° C in my shower”: Isabelle tells about her “old-fashioned” life in her poorly insulated house
>> TESTIMONIAL. “Four of us sleep in a room”: Aurélie recounts the “unlivable” winters of her family
In addition, Isolde Devalière, sociologist at Ademe, brings his expert perspective on questions of fuel poverty. It draws up a typology of affected households and draws a contrasting assessment of the public policies implemented over the past ten years.
>> MAJOR INTERVIEW “You have to force homeowners”: why the fight against fuel poverty remains a huge project
Isabelle Martin, whose testimony appears above, has also agreed to tell us in a video how being cold in her home affects her health.
>> VIDEO. In Brittany, Isabelle gave up medical care because of the cold that reigns at home
Lastly, the # LesMalC Chaudés operation also extends to franceinfo’s radio and TV antennas. Our journalist Yann Thompson was notably interviewed on the franceinfo set (channel 27).
>> VIDEO. “It’s too cold to take a shower”: when energy poverty threatens health
Can I participate?
This operation was born out of a call for testimonials published on franceinfo in October. About fifty contributions were received in less than 24 hours, then studied by our journalist. A dozen people were contacted for in-depth discussions. Two of them, Isabelle and Fabienne, were finally selected for the testimonies presented above. Aurélie’s testimony was obtained through an association, after we approached various structures and institutions.
Our call for testimonials is now closed, but you still have the opportunity to express yourself. You can tell us about your situation in the live of franceinfo, with the keyword # LesMalC chaudés. A comment area is reserved for you, so do not hesitate: some of your messages will be published in our direct.