In our first guest article of 2017, Katarzyna Sałach from the Institute for Structural Research in Warsaw presents some key findings from a recently concluded study of fuel poverty in Poland. 

The second year of an intensive study on fuel poverty in Poland, conducted by the Institute for Structural Research (IBS), is just coming to the end. Key findings are made, key numbers are known, and some solutions have been proposed. The problem is worth investigation: high regional variation of living conditions, rooted in the history of Poland, results in the heterogeneity of the fuel poor. The complexity of the phenomenon set a challenge for the researchers, but at the same time forced a more insightful understanding of differences between various indicators of fuel poverty. Read the rest of this entry »

Tamás Meszerics – MEP Greens/EFA – and his team have recently published a new handbook on energy poverty in Europe. The purpose of the Energy Poverty Handbook is to offer an overview for decision makers and policy practitioners on the complex issues of energy poverty. The book is available online and will also be distributed in hard copy. A number of leading researchers, policy analysts, and NGO representatives have contributed chapters to this book:

  • Sian Jones, European Anti- Poverty Network (EAPN)
  • Angela Tod, University of Sheffield
  • Harriet Thomson, University of Manchester and EU Fuel Poverty Network
  • Maarten De Groote, BPIE
  • Filippos Anagnostopoulos, BPIE
  • Stefan Bouzarovski, University of Manchester
  • Sergio Tirado Herrero, RMIT University and University of Manchester
  • Carolyn Snell, University of York
  • Audrey Dobbins, University of Stuttgart
  • Steve Pye, University College London
  • Edit Lakatos, Housing Europe
  • Anna Bajomi, Compagnia di San Paolo

To celebrate the publication of this book, a launch event is being hosted at the European Parliament on Tuesday 29th November 2016, 13:00-14:00. More information about the event can be found in the box below. Registration is via this link.

Our latest guest blog post is written by Dr Lucie Middlemiss from the University of Leeds, in which she provides a critique of the new fuel poverty definition in England.

This week, a paper that I have written on the ‘new politics of fuel poverty’ is out in the journal Critical Social Policy. I thought fuelpoverty.eu readers might be interested to hear the arguments I am making about the Low Income High Costs indicator (LIHC) and the way it has been introduced in England. In the paper I set out to critically analyse the new ‘politics’ of fuel poverty in England. This means I analysed all the documents that the UK government produced around with the introduction of LIHC, to understand how they redefine the problem of fuel poverty in England and with what consequences. Read the rest of this entry »

The discourse of  protecting”vulnerable consumers” in relation to energy poverty has filtered down from EU legislation into national policy frameworks, as Teodora Peneva explores in the following guest article on the situation in Bulgaria.

On May 26, 2016, the Ministry of Energy announced a new mechanism for protection of vulnerable consumer of energy in Bulgaria, including financial, non-financial and long-term measures.

As part of the new mechanism, the definition of vulnerable consumers was re-written, to include three more groups of vulnerable consumers to the existing 17 groups covered by the targeted assistance for heating in effect since 2003. This will increase the target group to 1.1mn people (14% of the population) from the currently receiving winter heating allowance group of nearly 500,000 people. The newly added groups include 1) elderly over 70 years of age, living alone, with income only from pension that is up to the defined poverty line in the country for the respective year; 2) persons with over 90% reduced ability, with an attendant; 3) families with disabled children, with an attendant. Some of these criteria overlap with the existing persons and families receiving targeted assistance for heating under the Social Assistance Act of the country. Read the rest of this entry »

We are very pleased to announce the launch of our Fuel Poverty Discussion Forums, which have been created to provide an online discussion space for all matters relating to fuel poverty across Europe. The forums are the latest addition to our website, and will contribute to the EUFPN’s aim to raise awareness of fuel poverty across the EU, and to further the dialogue between relevant stakeholders.

Our forums are open to use by everyone with an interest in fuel poverty, including (but not limited to): researchers, housing associations, energy service businesses, decision-makers, non-governmental organisations, and social innovators. Read the rest of this entry »

In this guest article, Gerald Koessl from the National Housing Federation takes a look at the difference between objective and subjective fuel poverty measures, with reference to social rented households in England and Europe as a whole.

According to official fuel poverty statistics 11% of all social rented households in England are in fuel poverty, which is slightly above the national average but significantly lower than in the private rented sector, where almost 1 in 5 (19%) of all households are fuel poor. However, looking at subjective measures of fuel poverty shows a very different picture. Despite living in more energy efficient homes than residents in other tenures, almost a quarter (23%) of all social rented households report that they struggle with keeping their homes warm, the highest proportion across all tenures and more than double the national average (12%). Why is this so?

Figure 1: Households in fuel poverty, by tenure. Source: EHS Fuel Poverty Dataset 2013

Figure 1: Households in fuel poverty, by tenure. Source: EHS Fuel Poverty Dataset 2013

Read the rest of this entry »

Fuel poverty has been linked to countries with cold winters where people cannot either keep their houses adequately warm or pay their energy bills.

Nowadays people in countries with hot summers have to expend more than 10% of income to pay their energy bills. There are several factors which lead households to expend such a high amount of money to pay their energy bills, although the most important two are the inadequate systems and poor quality of buildings.
This summer has been very hot in central and southern European countries leading the highest recorded temperatures to be exceeded.

Regarding this fact, our coordinator Raúl Castaño-Rosa in collaboration with Marilyn Smith (EnAct) make the following post. Promoting the relation between fuel poverty and energy efficiency in buildings, fuel poverty in hot seasons is the base of this investigation.

Where does fuel poverty exist?

We welcome all related investigations to be published and recorded in our database, to enable new lines of collaboration.

It is necessary to thank Sergio Tirado-Herrero for supplying the main documentation.

Ending Energy Poverty in Europe Towards an Inclusive Energy Union

http://www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk/events/GG07-PPE2

Thursday 7th July 2016, 10:00 – 16:30, Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre.

Energy Poverty, also known as Fuel Poverty, is a widespread reality across Europe that occurs when a household is unable to afford the most basic levels of energy for adequate heating and lighting as well as common activities such as cooking and the use of appliances at home. According to the European Commission, 11% of the European population currently suffers from fuel poverty and is unable to afford proper indoor thermal comfort. Low income, gradually increasing energy prices and poor energy efficient homes are the main reasons behind this reality and are mainly encountered in Central Eastern and Southern Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

Our latest article is from Marilyn Smith, Executive Director of The Energy Action Project (EnAct), an exciting initiative that seeks to change the way in which energy poverty is reported on globally.

"There's nothing left to live on," says Katja, her gas and electricity bills being $65/month while her pension is $73. Her son and granddaughter recently returned home: Stephan spends his days, and depletes his savings, repairing the house. They rely on Masha's part-time job to put food on the table. Credit: P. Madsen/EnAct

“There’s nothing left to live on,” says Katja, her gas and electricity bills being $65/month while her pension is $73. Her son and granddaughter recently returned home: Stephan spends his days, and depletes his savings, repairing the house. They rely on Masha’s part-time job to put food on the table. Credit: P. Madsen/EnAct

Read the rest of this entry »

In this guest post Dr Mari Martiskainen summarises the outcomes of a workshop held recently in Hastings, England, which focussed on community solutions to fuel poverty. This post originally appeared at: http://blogs.sussex.ac.uk/sussexenergygroup/2016/05/18/fuel-poverty-workshop/

2.35 million households in England living in poor quality, energy inefficient housing have to decide each winter whether to ‘eat or heat’. They live in cold homes because they can’t afford to pay their fuel bills and then suffer from respiratory illnesses which have long-term effects on their health and wellbeing, and sometimes fatal consequences. Last year, England and Wales experienced the highest number of ‘excess winter deaths’ in fifteen years, with 43,900 dying – 27% more than during the non-winter months.

It’s an urgent issue that needs solutions. A workshop on Community Solutions to Fuel Poverty was held on 13th May in Hastings – an area badly affected by fuel poverty – and was attended by a mix of stakeholders, including local government, community groups, academics, energy utilities, as well as the local MP, RT Hon Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The aim of the workshop was to bring together a range of expertise in fuel poverty work and present concrete policy recommendations to the Secretary of State. Read the rest of this entry »

EU Fuel Poverty Network | Working to fight fuel poverty across Europe