European Parliament takes step towards tackling energy poverty

Energy poverty - old radiator and window ©CanStockPhotokrsmanovic

(12 December 2017) Last week on 7 December the ITRE-ENVI Joint Committee adopted a report on the Governance of the Energy Union which includes three specific measures to address energy poverty.

The report is part of the European Commission’s “Clean energy for all Europeans” package which says that the EU should become a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, moving towards a highly-efficient, renewables-based energy system. In order to achieve this, Member States should develop long-term climate and energy strategies based on a binding template. According to the ITRE-ENVI committee report, when preparing their national energy and climate plan Member States will be required to:

  • Define households in energy poverty, taking into account the necessary domestic energy services needed to guarantee basic standards of living in the relevant national context, which they may not be able to afford due to a combination of low income, high energy expenditure and poor energy efficiency of their accommodation. The European Commission should adopt a common methodology for Member States to define energy poverty.
  • Outline existing and planned policies and measures addressing energy poverty and, where necessary, include a national objective to reduce the number of households in energy poverty.
  • Assess the number of households in energy poverty.

This report, which will go to plenary vote at the beginning of next year, is a step in the right direction to eradicate energy poverty in Europe. Meanwhile, other important pieces of legislation such as the common rules for the internal market in electricity and the energy efficiency directive are being discussed in the European Parliament. Ensuring the “right to energy”, the ban of disconnections and building renovation measures targeting low-income households in these legislative proposals will be key elements to protect the most vulnerable consumers.

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