Between 10% and 25% of people in the EU face energy poverty, and the numbers continue to increase. Too many people are forced to choose between heating and eating. Access to affordable energy needs to be recognized as social right, and mainstreamed into EU and national policy making policy . As a follow-up to the European Parliament Initiative Report on the antipoverty target in the light of increasing household costs, MEP Tamas Meszerics (Greens, Hungary) launched today in the European Parliament a new Handbook on Energy Poverty. This useful booklet was developed together with key stakeholders – EAPN, BPIE (Building Performance Institute Europe) and Housing Europe.
This practical guide is aimed at decision-makers, as well as non-governmental actors, activists, journalists, and other stakeholders and any concerned individual in need of the right tools understand the issue and start taking action.
EAPN was invited to co-author the Handbook with a focus on the social causes and consequences of energy poverty. The article by Sian Jones, EAPN Policy Coordinator covers the social causes and consequences of energy poverty, starting from the perspective of people with direct experience of poverty and EAPN networks and members. The article draws on experience from national members, highlighting the complex interconnection between the 3 main causes – lack of an adequate income, rising and unaffordable prices and poor, low energy-efficient housing, particularly highlighting the importance of promoting an integrated strategy tackling all causes, focused on people’s needs and ensuring effective regulation of the energy market to guarantee social rights including prohibition of cut-offs.
Energy efficiency initiatives particularly in social housing, can play a key role, but only if they directly benefit the poorer households and avoid passing on the costs to them. Involving people themselves in proposals on specific policy initiatives is key to ensure positive social impact.
The final chapter also highlights good practices at a local level, including several initiatives from EAPN members in national networks and European Organisations in Spain, Scotland and Germany related to energy efficiency, awareness-raising/ debt advice and social tariffs and initiatives on affordable energy.
See the Handbook here in Hungarian!
As a side project to this Handbook, a booklet of Good Practices Aiming to End Energy Poverty was later produced. View these case studies, collected by EAPN & MEP Tamas Meszerics’ officer, below.
For more information contact Sian Jones, EAPN Policy Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org