Energy poverty refers to those households unable to access a required level of energy services

The purpose of this briefing note, led by Oeko institute, was to give an overview of the various instruments in place at the EU and Member State levels with regard to energy poverty. This study aimed to investigate the extent to which energy poverty is an issue in the selected EU Member States, which households it applies to, how it is addressed, how well the identified policies and measures work and whether they reach their intended target groups.

The study acknowledged the diversity of situations across Europe, and in light of such diversity, states it would be ill-advised to recommend a unified, one-fits-all strategy against energy poverty at EU level. EU policy needs to take account of the diverse nature of the problem and base future policies on the idea of supporting Member States.

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Heating affordabilities. Source: Association for the Conservation of Energy (2013).

The briefing provided the following three key policy recommendations:

  • Find an adequate definition of energy poverty by providing data, information and coordination and further the European discussion by setting up platforms and dialogue for information exchange and sharing of best practices.
  • Support national policies financially through EU co-ordination and co-funding of housing stock renovation programs.
  • Continue to set minimum standards for the energy efficiency of buildings and energy using appliances.