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

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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

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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 »

The Society for Sustainable Development Design has the pleasure to invite you to participate in the conference “Energy Poverty in South East Europe” to be held in the EU Parliament in Bruxelles (room ASP A1G3) on 1st of June 2016 (13:00 – 15:00), hosted by MEP Davor Škrlec and REACH project partners.

Please register for participation here. For all the questions you may have, please contact Ms Petra Andrić petra.andric [@] door.hr

The conference programme can be found below. Alternatively, right-click on the following link: Conference programme.

Over the last 6 months our aim has been to build on the popularity and successes of the EU Fuel Poverty Network and to expand its activities. After months in the planning stage we are pleased to announce our latest development – network membership.

Five reasons to become an EU Fuel Poverty Network member…

  1. Raise the profile of your work
  2. Network with other researchers and practitioners in the field
  3. Discover new collaboration opportunities
  4. Access to members-only content (in development)
  5. It is free!

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In this guest post, Dr Rose Chard presents a new way of framing and understanding the issue of fuel poverty via a ‘ways of knowing’ framework based on her earlier doctoral research1.

Over the past decade, there has been significant policy and practitioner attention given to the development of definitions and categories, processes and procedures of fuel poverty in the UK. This has been part of an attempt to know and tackle the struggles that are experienced by ‘fuel poor’ households. This is in terms of changes to the official government definition and measure of fuel poverty (Department of Energy & Climate Change 2012) and also to the delivery of practical programmes designed to tackle access to adequate energy at an affordable cost (Department of Energy & Climate Change 2015b; Centre for Sustainable Energy 2015). Read the rest of this entry »


  1. This article is written using this PhD research alone and reflects the author’s opinion alone. 

After our recent call, The EU Fuel Poverty Network is delighted to welcome three new Deputy Network Coordinators to the team. The new coordinators will be bringing fresh ideas for the website and broader activities, as well as getting involved with promoting discussion and action on fuel poverty across Europe.

Our new Deputy Network Coordinators are:

Raúl Castaño De la Rosa

Raúl Castaño De la Rosa

My name is Raúl Castaño De la Rosa and I am from Spain. I am doing my PhD in the University of Seville (Higher Technical School of Architecture). The developed line of research in the PhD programme is about environmental conditioning, energy efficiency and ICT in building. My research is based on the analysis of existing indicators of fuel poverty and its relationship to the residential sector.

 

Rhionna Mackay

Rhionna Mackay

I am currently the Project Officer for a British Gas Energy Trust funded project called Cosy Homes East Sutherland Scheme (CHESS). CHESS aims to improve the health of householders and reduce the levels of fuel poverty in the project area through providing grants towards energy efficiency measures, such as central heating, floor insulation, double glazing and draught proofing, which will make the homes more efficient, healthier and less expensive to heat. CHESS covers the area of East Sutherland in the Highlands of Scotland. Sutherland is a county which has 73.5 – 86.3% of residents as being classed as in fuel poverty (Changeworks, 2015) and is an area which has the highest number of ‘cold homes’ in Scotland, with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of D – G (Changeworks, 2016).

 

Irene Morris

Irene Morris

I am an early career researcher in the process of completing my PhD through Maynooth University, Ireland. My thesis investigates the spatialized impact of energy policy measures on the energy efficiency of the built environment. I predominantly use open data and GIS to investigate the links between residential energy efficiency and other social and economic factors. Some early results from my research project indicate that current Irish policy measures are serving to both alleviate some aspects of fuel poverty while also potentially creating new instances of fuel poverty within the population.

 

Please give them all a warm welcome in the comments below, on our Twitter account, or if you see them at an event in the future.

 

Advances in fuel poverty research and practice: a pan-European early career researcher symposium

20th September 2016, University of Manchester, UK

Applications are sought from postgraduate and early career researchers (ECRs) in all disciplines for a sponsored pan-European symposium on domestic energy deprivation. Participant registration is now also open (details below). Read the rest of this entry »

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