Authors: Steve Pye (UCL), Audrey Dobbins (USTUTT), Claire Baffert as KIC InnoEnergy expert, Jurica Brajković, Ivana Grgurev (EIHP), Rocco De Miglio (E4SMA) and Paul Deane (UCC)
|Language: English||Year: May 2015|
|Countries: European Union||Weblink|
|Topics: Energy poverty||Type: Policy Report|
Summary: This policy report from the INSIGHT_E consortium assesses how Member States define the issue of energy poverty and vulnerable consumers, and the measures that have been implemented to address these issues. Under the Third Energy Package, Member States need to identify vulnerable consumers and put measures in place that affords them adequate attention, and where appropriate, address issues of energy poverty. Our review highlights the quite distinctive ways in which Member States have both recognised and chosen to address the issues of vulnerable consumers and energy poverty. While this strong subsidiarity approach recognises national differences, it means there is a danger of Member States not addressing the dual challenges of additional consumer protection and access to the markets for vulnerable consumers, and energy affordability concerns. There is also a risk of vulnerable consumer actions not being aligned with or contributing to measures to address energy poverty.
The report also highlights that energy poverty is a linked yet distinctive issue from vulnerable consumers, and requires different metrics to define it and measures to tackle it. We estimate that less than a third of Member States recognise energy poverty at an official level, while only four countries have legislated definitions (UK, Ireland, France, Slovakia). However, it should be noted that many countries do have civic organisations engaged in trying to tackle the problem in local communities around Europe. The study also highlights that energy poverty is not only a regulated energy markets issue; in fact, it may be more prevalent in off-grid communities, or those associated with other national markets e.g. district heating. In addition, it should not only be regarded as an affordable heating issue but cooling too, and could also include energy expenditure for mobility.