(24 May 2023) The Right to Energy coalition has launched a manifesto advocating for a European ban on energy disconnections, urging the European Parliament to leverage the demand as they review the European Commission’s proposal to revise the energy market. The Right to Energy coalition, which includes EPSU, unites trade unions, anti-poverty groups, social housing providers, NGOs, environmental campaigners, health organisations and energy cooperatives to work towards ending energy poverty in Europe.
The manifesto underscores the need for such a ban, revealing that more than 35 million people experienced fuel poverty in 2021, with an estimated 72 million individuals living below the poverty line. The pressing concern is how many more people will struggle to pay their energy bills in the coming months and years, potentially leaving them without access to essential energy resources.
Living without energy goes beyond the difficult choice between basic necessities. For many Europeans affected by energy disconnections, it means living in darkness; struggling to prepare meals; facing challenges with children's education; lacking refrigeration; and being unable to recharge vital devices like phones and computers. These disconnections have far-reaching consequences on health, well-being, self-esteem and both professional and family life, significantly impacting children's education.
The revision of the electricity market provides a unique opportunity for the European Union to demonstrate its commitment to consumer protection. By implementing measures that prohibit energy disconnections, the EU can take significant steps towards ensuring universal access to this essential resource. It is crucial to address the underlying issues of poverty and inequality while prioritizing the well-being of those most affected by energy insecurity.
Access to energy is a fundamental necessity, and no individual should be left without it.
Read the full manifesto here