Energy Poverty

Strengthening the EU's Response to Energy Poverty

Authors: Audrey Dobbins, Francesco Fuso Nerini, Paul Deane and, Steve Pye

2019 - Nature Energy

Extract of the Introduction

It is estimated that in 2018 more than 50 million people were experiencing energy poverty in Europe. Energy poverty is a multi-dimensional concept but can be thought of as a situation where households are unable to adequately meet their energy needs at affordable cost, and is caused by a combination of interrelated factors including low income, high energy prices, poorly insulated buildings and inefficient technologies and sometimes limited access to clean and affordable energy sources. Energy poverty is linked to wider health issues, including excess winter death and poor mental health. Energy poor households may also face disproportionately higher energy costs due to lower levels of access to competitive tariffs and other energy market benefits. However, the issue has only recently gained meaningful recognition by the European policy community. The concept of energy poverty is intertwined with but distinct from that of vulnerable consumers.