The impact of the Bono Social de Electricidad on energy poverty in Spain

Guillermo García Alvarez, Richard S.J. Tol*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Bono Social de Electricidad (BSE) is a government programme, introduced in 2009, to reduce energy poverty in Spain. The BSE is a discount on the price of electricity, available to vulnerable households who applied. Applying differences-in-differences and propensity score matching to household data between 2008 and 2011, we find no statistically significant impact of the intention to treat on two indicators of energy poverty, viz. the ability to keep the house adequately warm, and the presence of damp walls, rotting windows and leaking roofs. This may be because eligible households did not apply. A third indicator, delays in paying electricity bills, showed a statistically significant deterioration. That is, the BSE has not reduced energy poverty, if anything it has made it worse. This is not because eligible households transferred income to relatives hit harder by the financial crises, but it may be because the BSE discount did not fully compensate for the cold of 2010.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105554
JournalEnergy Economics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Bono Social de Electricidad
  • Energy poverty
  • Household data
  • Policy evaluation
  • Spain


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