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|Energy Poverty - A European lssue|
December 2009 (read also INFORSE-Europe views in 2010-11)
When a family is not able to afford the
costs of keeping its house warm and the lights on, it is hit by “fuel
poverty” or "energy
poverty". In many ways this is not different from other kinds of
poverty, but if the
problems comes from raising energy costs and the energy bill is a large
part of household expenditures, it is reasonable to look for energy -
related solutions. This can be increasing energy efficiency or cheaper
Basic Facts on Energy
Poverty and Fuel Poverty
The UK have addressed fuel poverty in a
number of ways with:
Fuel poverty is not at all confined to the UK. In many EU countries, not the least in Central Europe, it is common that poor people pay well above 10% of their income for household energy costs. It is also common that poor people disconnect from heat and gas supply to save money. In Central Europe the traditional solution was to subsidize energy supply for the entire population, with the well-known results of low energy efficiency and no incentives to develop renewable energy. With the reductions of the subsidies there are now incentives to save energy, but too often the poorer part of the population suffers from high household energy bills with the low efficiency in existing houses and higher energy costs. The disconnection from district heating networks also lead to deteriorating of the basis for cogeneration of heat and power, one of the ways to use fuel more efficient.
Energy Efficiency as Solution
Energy Poverty & EU
If energy poverty is a national priority, energy suppliers should have a focus on families in energy poverty in their energy efficiency activities, a possible requirement with an extension of the energy service directive.
As an EU priority, energy poverty elimination programmes should also be granted exemptions in state aid rules.
To bring energy poverty elimination to the European agenda, it must be recognized by the European Parliament or a council of EU ministers: social ministers, energy ministers, or prime ministers. That would be an important first step.
These are the initial proposals of INFORSE-Europe. Comments are welcome. We are also happy to participate in initiatives to bring energy poverty stronger into the EU agenda.
Contact: INFORSE-Europe, International Network
for Sustainable Energy - Europe
is a network of 72 NGOs promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Ph: +45-86227000.