Energy poverty and how to tackle it

Energy poverty is a growing problem across the EU. In 2014, the lowest-income households in the EU spent close to 9 % of their total expenditure on energy. This is a 50 % increase compared to 10 years before, in comparison to a 20 % increase for an average household. It is estimated that over 50 million households in the European Union are struggling to attain adequate warmth, pay their utility bills on time and live in homes free of damp and mould.

Energy poverty is a problem that impinges on several policy domains, including housing, public health, energy markets, climate change mitigation and welfare provision. However, at present, there are a number of key barriers that prevent effective alleviation of the issue:
• efforts to measure and target energy poor households are hampered by the currently poor quality and availability of statistical data;
• some Member States are being very proactive in addressing the problem; however, policy transfer has not always been successful;
• there is a huge number of European and nationally funded projects focused on energy poverty, but there is no mechanism for disseminating the project findings and key lessons in a comprehensive manner.

The issue of energy poverty has therefore been identified as a policy priority within the European Commission’s Energy Union Framework Strategy and the "Clean Energy for All Europeans" package proposing concrete measures on monitoring energy poverty and targeting energy efficiency measures towards the energy poor.

This session aims at giving an overview of the growing problem of energy poverty in Europe and the proposed measures to address them, with specific examples from selected Member States. It also gives an insight into the ongoing work of the energy observatory to support European policies and in national programmes that have been successful in battling energy poverty.


European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality
European Commission
Deputy Head of Unit " Internal Market: Retail Markets Coal and Oil"
European Commissin Directorate-General for Energy
Professor of Geography and Director of the Collaboratory for Urban Resilience and Energy, Chair of the European Energy Poverty Observatory
University of Manchester
Associate Professor of Economics
ISG International Business School in Paris
Policy Coordinator
European Commission
Energy Consultant
Energy Action
Programme Director
Society for Sustainable Development Design - DOOR