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ENERGY POVERTY HANDBOOK

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cators researchers have

cators researchers have been able to circumvent data issues and quantify EU energy poverty. A third strength, and arguably the most important, is that a consensual approach to energy poverty has the potential to “capture the wider elements of fuel poverty, such as social exclusion and material deprivation” (Healy and Clinch, 2002b: 10). Conversely, the subjective indicators used in the consensual approach have been criticised for their error of exclusion, whereby households may not identify themselves as energy poor even though they may be characterised as energy poor under other measures (Dubois, 2012b). Furthermore, the degree to which subjective measures overlap with expenditure measures is a concern, although research on this is limited. McKay is also critical of consensual deprivation indicators, stating they “assume that there is a broad consensus on what goods/services families should be able to afford, and that an inability to afford those items can measure deprivation” (2004: 201). Consequently, if the underlying assumptions are incorrect, a person may appear poor due to their consumption preferences rather than lacking resources (McKay, 2004). 4. Indicators for household identification Accurately and efficiently locating energy poor households can be a major obstacle to the delivery of energy poverty alleviation policies, particularly as “most monitoring proposals do not translate successfully into appropriate criteria at the level of the individual household” (Boardman, 2012: 144). Given this, most policy makers targeting the energy poor tend to use: • ‘Passport’ benefits - such as being in receipt of unemployment related welfare payments); • Area based approaches that draw on local statistics around housing conditions and poverty (see for example Walker et al., 2012; Morrison and Shortt, 2008); • Or base support on demographic criteria such as age. • Equally, in recognition of the heightened vulnerability of certain groups, a suite of qualifying criteria are sometimes set in order to protect the most vulnerable groups (e.g. a mix of area based, demographic and economic criteria). However, there is evidence to suggest that targeting is problematic. For example, of ‘Warm Front’ (a programme of state funded housing improvements in the UK) recipients in 2001 only one fifth were in energy poverty prior to receiving their grant (Sefton, 2004). Similarly, there has been substantial criticism of the non-means tested winter energy payments made to the over 65s (Brinkley and Less 2010) in the UK. Specific criteria used to target support such as using ‘passport’ benefits or age thresholds can also be problematic, and indeed, as argued by Walker and Day (2012) can oversimplify complex and often dynamic circumstances. Whilst it may be easier to identify households on the basis of actual spend on energy as a proportion of income, as described above this is a crude measure and does not take into account the fact that households vulnerable to energy poverty are likely to under heat their homes in an attempt to balance finances. Consensual measures can be equally problematic, especially as the energy poor may deny the reality of their situation, perhaps due to the stigma attached to the energy poverty label. Given all of this there is often a gap between national estimates of energy poverty and the implementation of policy measures at the local level. summary This chapter set out to outline the main definitions of energy poverty that exist across Europe. In doing so, it has clarified the terminological confusion that exists around ‘fuel poverty’ and ‘energy poverty’, pointing out that both terms are concerned with all energy services in the home, not just heating. It has highlighted the lack of a common EU definition, summarized the five existing national definitions of energy poverty, and offered some explanations as to why so few Member States formally recognise the issue. The second aim of this chapter has been to consider the main approaches available for measuring energy poverty. Here, we have introduced the main measureable drivers and outcomes of energy poverty, and gone into more detail about the main prevailing approaches: direct measurement, the expenditure approach, and the consensual/subjective approach. We have also discussed the mismatch that exists between measuring the incidence of energy poverty, on the one hand, and identifying households at the local level for policy interventions, on the other. 112 DEFINITIONS AND INDICATORS OF ENERGY POVERTY ACROSS THE EU DEFINITIONS AND INDICATORS OF ENERGY POVERTY ACROSS THE EU 113

It is clear that much work remains to be done to comprehensively address energy poverty. A key issue is the paucity of suitable data at the EU and national level, which is preventing rigorous assessment of energy poverty. There is no dedicated survey of energy poverty, and no standardised household micro data on energy expenditure, energy consumption or energy efficiency. As a result, researchers are often reliant on subjective data concerning the consequences of energy poverty rather than data on the causes of energy poverty. However, researchers are beginning to offer solutions to this, indeed a report by Thomson and Snell (2014) provides a number of detailed recommendations for improving data at the EU and national scale, based on a review of energy poverty indicators and datasets. notes 1 Acknowledgments: This chapter was supported with funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC grant agreement number 313478. references boardman, b. (2012) Fuel poverty synthesis: Lessons learnt, actions needed. Energy Policy, 49: 143-148. boardman, b. (2010) Fixing Fuel Poverty: Challenges and Solutions. London: Earthscan. bouzarovski, s. and tirado herrero, s. (2015) The energy divide: Integrating energy transitions, regional inequalities and poverty trends in the European Union. European Urban and Regional Studies: 1-18. doi: 10.1177/0969776415596449. bouzarovski, s. and petrova, s. (2015) A global perspective on domestic energy deprivation: Overcoming the energy poverty–fuel poverty binary. Energy Research & Social Science, 10: 31–40. bouzarovski, s., petrova, s. and sarlamanov, r. (2012) Energy poverty policies in the EU: A critical perspective. Energy Policy, 49: 76–82. brinkley, a. and less, s. (2010) Cold Comfort - Fuel Poverty and the Winter Fuel Payment. London: Policy Exchange. department of communications, energy & natural resources (2016) A Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty. Retrieved from: http://www.dccae.gov.ie/energy/SiteCollectionDocuments/Energy- Efficiency/A%20Strategy%20to%20Combat%20Energy%20Poverty.pdf Accessed: 07-10-2016. department of energy and climate change (2013) Fuel Poverty Report – Updated. London: HMSO. department of energy and climate change (2010) Fuel Poverty Methodology Handbook. London: HMSO. de quero, a. and lapostolet, b. (2009) Plan Bâtiment Grenelle Groupe de travail Précarité énergétique Rapport. Paris: Ministère de l’écologie, de l’énergie, du développement durable et de la mer. dubois, u. and meier, h. (2016) Energy affordability and energy inequality in Europe: Implications for policymaking. Energy Research & Social Science, 18: 21-35. dubois, u. (2012a) Fuel Poverty in France. Retrieved from: http://fuelpoverty. eu/2012/08/24/fuel-poverty-in-france/ Accessed: 07-10-2016. dubois, u. (2012b) From targeting to implementation: The role of identification of fuel poor households. Energy Policy, 49: 107-115. gordon, d., adelman, l., ashworth, k., bradshaw, j., levitas, r., middleton, s., pantazis, c., patsios, d., payne, s., townsend, p. and williams, j. (2000) Poverty and social exclusion in Britain. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. healy, j. d. (2004) Housing, Fuel Poverty and Health: A Pan-European Analysis. Aldershot: Ashgate. healy, j. d. and clinch, j. p. (2002a) Fuel poverty, thermal comfort and occupancy: results of a national household-survey in Ireland. Applied Energy, 73(3-4): 329-343. healy, j. d. and clinch, p. (2002b) Fuel poverty in Europe: A cross-country analysis using a new composite measure. Dublin: Environmental Studies Research Series, University College Dublin. hills, j. (2012) Getting the measure of fuel poverty: Final Report of the Fuel Poverty Review. London: Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, Report 72. hirsch, d., preston, i. and white, v. (2011) Understanding fuel expenditure: Fuel poverty and spending on fuel. London: Consumer Focus. liddell, c., morris, c., mckenzie, s. j. p. and rae, g. (2012) Measuring and monitoring fuel poverty in the UK: National and regional perspectives. Energy Policy, 49: 27-32. 114 DEFINITIONS AND INDICATORS OF ENERGY POVERTY ACROSS THE EU DEFINITIONS AND INDICATORS OF ENERGY POVERTY ACROSS THE EU 115

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