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 »

The EU Fuel Poverty Network (EU FPN) was established in December 2011 by Dr Harriet Thomson to raise awareness of fuel poverty across Europe. Since then the website has grown to become the leading online portal for information about fuel poverty. The website has had over 17,000 visitors since re-launching in November 2012, and guest blog articles written by more than 20 experts in the field. The associated Twitter account has over 1,000 followers, comprised of researchers, national and European politicians, and campaign organisations. There is evidence that decision-makers are using this resource to inform their work, with Diane Dodds MEP citing the EU FPN in a written question to the European Commission in April 2013.

We are now in the process of rebranding and further expanding the EU FPN website, so that it remains relevant and useful. As part of this package of changes, we are looking to take on several voluntary Deputy Network Coordinators from across Europe who could help shape the network in years to come.

Role description:

The Deputy Network Coordinator role is a voluntary position, with no fixed commitments on the number of hours to be spent on network activities, although it is anticipated that a minimum of two hours per month will be spent working on the EU FPN. The Deputy Network Coordinators will be responsible for getting involved with the following activities:

  • Contributing new ideas for the development of the network;
  • Generating content for the website – in the form of guest blog articles from people working on relevant projects/campaigns, reports on recent conference and workshops, etc;
  • Updating the social media accounts.

Whilst previous experience in any of the above activities is desirable, it is not essential. The most important criteria are an interest and commitment to alleviating domestic energy deprivation, and an enthusiasm for the EU FPN activities. Early career researchers, and campaigners are particularly encouraged to apply. In return, this role offers great networking opportunities and the chance to gain experience working on a cross-national project utilising social media, and generating and editing content. At present the role is voluntary in nature, but as part of the network expansion we will be looking for new funding streams.

How to apply:

To apply for the role, send your CV (2 pages maximum) and a cover letter highlighting your experience and stating why you would like to become a Deputy Network Coordinator, by email to harriet.thomson(at)manchester.ac.uk. You can also email if you have any queries about the role.

Application deadline: 18th March 2016, 5pm CET.

RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 30 August – 2 September 2016

Beyond the triad: exploring the drivers of domestic energy deprivation

Session organisers: Dr Harriet Thomson, Dr Neil Simcock, Dr Saska Petrova, and Prof Stefan Bouzarovski (University of Manchester)

Sponsored by the Energy Geographies Research Group, RGS-IBG

Domestic energy deprivation – which has often been recognised via the terms ‘fuel poverty’ and ‘energy poverty’ – is gaining increasing acceptance as a significant global policy issue. Commonly, the causes of energy poverty are considered through the ‘triad’ of high energy prices, poor housing efficiency, and low incomes.  Recently, however, this theorisation has been critiqued as too simplistic, ignoring factors such as cultural norms and household needs, the dynamic and evolving nature of household circumstances, and the underlying socio-technical, spatial and political drivers that shape housing efficiency and energy prices.  Recent uses of relational geography (Buzar, 2007), assemblage thinking (Harrison and Popke, 2011; Day and Walker, 2013), and vulnerability frameworks (Bouzarovski and Petrova, 2015) to theorise energy poverty have been useful in highlighting more complex and nuanced issues, and indicate fruitful directions for further research.

This session seeks to build on this research and explore new approaches to understanding domestic energy deprivation.  We welcome papers that seek address these issues, potentially through examining the following themes:

  • Innovative theoretical conceptualisations of the drivers and consequences of energy poverty
  • Novel qualitative and quantitative empirical studies of energy poverty – from the household-level, the meso- (community), to macro-scale processes
  • The dynamic nature of domestic energy deprivation
  • Cross-cultural comparisons of energy poverty worldwide, particularly those that go beyond the developed/developing countries binary
  • The socio-spatial and political aspects of energy poverty.

Format:

Short presentations (15 minute + 5 minute questions), plus roundtable discussion, aiming for 2 session slots.

To submit

Please send abstracts no more than 250 words, including title, author name(s), affiliation and email addresses, to either Harriet Thomson (harriet.thomson@manchester.ac.uk) or Neil Simcock (neil.simcock@manchester.ac.uk) by Monday 15th February.

 

In this article Dr Harriet Thomson reports back on a recent energy poverty workshop that was hosted in Brussels by the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, and comments on the growing awareness of energy poverty shown by Parliament members. Article reposted and adapted with permission from Energy Vulnerability and Urban Transitions.

Policymakers have been discussing ‘fuel poverty’ and ‘energy poverty’ at the EU-scale since at least 2001, as outlined in an earlier blog post. Yet despite widespread acknowledgement of the issue by EU decision makers, policy responses have remained fragmented and messy, and lack both a definition of fuel or energy poverty, and criteria for an ‘affected Member State’. However, this may soon change now that European Parliament groups are showing a renewed interest in addressing fuel poverty. Read the rest of this entry »

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