This is an action on the EU Charter for Energy Consumer’s rights, complaints and redress, protection of vulnerable customers as well as a strengthening of the role of regulating authorities.
“The EU is facing a major crisis on Energy Poverty. Now with most countries facing Energy price rises of over 30%, and shrinking incomes, most people experiencing poverty do not know how they are going to pay their bills”, said Ludo Horemans, President of EAPN.
He added: “In the 7th European meeting of People Experiencing Poverty meeting, a Bulgarian participant highlighted “we are having to choose between heating and eating.” Liberalization and privatisation of services are seen to be mainly responsible for this. Most countries have no national action plans or targets on energy poverty and the EU seems to be content to press ahead with the expansion of the internal market without acknowledging the serious detrimental impact it is having on people’s lives and on poverty.”
EAPN, CECODHAS and EPSU argue that more needs to be done. Energy poverty means not being able to heat your home to an adequate standard. An integrated strategy would not only tackle setting affordable prices, but ensure adequate income and work to reduce consumption through energy efficiency. Backing quality public services, rather than driving ahead with uncritical support for the internal market, is central.
“We have serious doubts about whether the internal market alone can deliver affordable, accessible prices –if no concern is shown to guarantee people’s basic rights to energy and other vital services of general interest” added Fintan Farrell, Director of EAPN.
Claire Roumet, CECODHAS Secretary General underlined: “Social, public and cooperative housing providers in Europe are at the forefront of the struggle against increasing fuel poverty among households in Europe. Despite efforts to minimise energy consumption through refurbishment and awareness raising, energy bills are exerting increasing financial pressure. We believe therefore that the prevention of a growing number of Europeans falling into energy poverty must be paramount in discussions on liberalization of energy markets.”
Jan Willem Goudriaan, Deputy General Secretary for EPSU commented: “The European Parliament needs to be serious about its commitments to address poverty and to promote public services. Support for these amendments will show the MEPs that care about low income households and those who are full of hot air“.
A special issue of the EAPN magazine “Network News” dedicated to Energy Poverty will be available at the beginning of July on the EAPN website.
For further information, please contact:
For EAPN: Audrey Gueudet (Information Officer) or Fintan Farrell (Director), tel. +32 2 226 58 50 – fax. +32 2 226 58 69 – E-mail: email@example.com
For CECHODAS: Sorcha Edwards, tel. + 32 2 541 05 61 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For EPSU: Jan Willem Goudriaan, tel. + 32 2 2501080 – Email : email@example.com
Note to the editors:
1) The European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN) is a representative network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and groups involved in the fight against poverty and social exclusion in the Member States of the European Union. For more information: www.eapn.eu
2) CECODHAS is the European network for the promotion of the right to decent housing for all. Its membership provides over 21 million homes across the European Union. For more information: www.cecodhas.org
3) The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) is a free and democratic federation of independent trade union organisations for employees in public services in Europe. It speaks on behalf of over 209 public sector unions representing approximately 8 million organised workers in more than 36 EU and applicant countries as well as member states of the European Economic Area. For more information: www.epsu.org