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Share of consumer

Share of consumer protection measures reviewed % Directives for the internal energy markets and includes winter-based or group-targeted disconnection bans (Dobbins et al., 2016). Figure 2 - Share of consumer protection measures reviewed, by category 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Provision of default products / supplier Disconnection safeguards - general Disconnection safeguards - winter Disconnection safeguards - targeted Revenue / profit control Utility code of conduct Reporting on and register of VCs Fines by regulators for insufficient implementation Regulator ensuring fair tariffs Notification of price changes In addition to the disconnection safeguards, a number of Member States have specific measures to protect consumers who are in debt, allowing for switching to other suppliers even if indebted (DK, FR, LU, UK). This type of direct and individualised engagement with consumers tailors the response towards finding long-term solutions to pay for their essential energy supply on a tight household budget. The measures reviewed also highlight the important role of the energy companies, working alongside the regulator (‘NRA controls’ and ‘Information’ in Figure 3), in ensuring consumer protection, including the issuing of codes of conduct in dealing with consumers (BE, IE, LU, SE, UK), reporting on and registering vulnerable consumers (FR, GR, UK), and provision of additional consumer assistance. In other Member States, the regulator has the important role of ensuring fair tariffs, monitoring company profits, and fining energy companies for underperforming on specific scheme implementations. Consumer complaints Additional advice / helpline Debt protection (switching) Gas grid extension scheme Improved subsidy distribution system Of all the categories, this is the most heterogeneous (ignoring the role of disconnection protection), with a range of measures specific to given countries. It is also a category of measure most prevalent in open competitive markets, and will become more important in specific Member States as energy markets become increasingly liberalised. 4.3 Energy efficiency interventions Our review highlights that energy efficiency measures, particularly those focusing on building retrofit, are a key part of a strategy to address energy poverty. Based on the review, 30% of Member States’ approach to tackling vulnerable consumers and / or energy poverty focuses on the use of energy efficiency programmes. Of the 90 measures reviewed in this category, 65% relate to building retrofit measures of different types (Figure 4), and of these, approximately 30% are targeted on lower income households. Figure 3 - Share of energy efficiency measures reviewed, by category ‘Grants’ categories also include loans and tax incentives Share of energy protection measures reviwed, % Share of consumer protection measures reviewed % 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Retrofit grants, loans, or tax incentives (non-targeted) Retrofit grants, loans, or tax incentives (targeted) Appliance grants (non-targeted) Appliance grants (targeted) Rental price guarantees Rental property EE improvements Social housing EE improvements Energy efficiency advice Legislation 128 MEMBER STATE LEVEL REGULATION RELATED TO ENERGY POVERTY MEMBER STATE LEVEL REGULATION RELATED TO ENERGY POVERTY 129 AND VULNERABLE CONSUMERS AND VULNERABLE CONSUMERS

There is therefore considerable scope for increased targeting of such measures, although of course this requires an understanding of which are the energy-poor households. Member State experiences highlight a range of considerations in how such targeted measures should be implemented. These include Energy savers (Energiesnoeiers) project in Belgium7, ‘Living Better’ (Habiter mieux) programme in France (Crémieux, 2014), Stromspar-Check (Energy-savings-check for low-income households) in Germany8, Better Energy: Warmer Homes in Ireland9, and Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) in the UK (Platt et al., 2013). As described in Table 3, there are issues to be considered when developing energy efficiency programmes, such as scoping the beneficiaries, approach for delivering and implementing as well as measuring and enforcing, and funding these. The Netherlands and Scandinavian countries have had strong success in targeting energy efficiency of social housing, which houses a higher share of lower income households.10 Combined with broader social support measures, this has allowed for less targeting of measures. The transferability of such measures is somewhat contingent on the dwelling stock and nature of tenure, e.g. level of social housing stock in some Member States is much lower, with lower income households catered for by private rental markets. There are a wide range of approaches to implementation e.g. funding source, extent of targeting, implementing body. Such factors need to be considered in view of national circumstances. There are already well understood barriers to energy efficiency measures. Therefore, strong incentives for take-up in low income households are needed, and designed to promote awareness and key benefits. Table 2 - Issues to consider in developing targeted energy efficiency programmes issue for consideration Targeting approach Delivery organisation Implementation approach Measurement & enforcement Funding description Are proxy indicators e.g. social benefit recipients, good enough to ensure those in energy poverty are reached? Delivery by energy companies may mean retrofits are not provided where most needed, but rather seek ‘easier’ opportunities to fulfil obligations. There may also be an issue of trust, if indeed an energy supplier is also carrying out retrofit measures. Finally, such programmes have the potential to offer local employment which may not be realised if large utilities are monopolising the market (as under the Stromspar-Check programme in Germany). Specific studies suggest that area-based (street-by-street) approaches can deliver significant economies of scale, and ensure low income households are identified and retrofitted (e.g. Platt et al., 2013; Preston et al., 2014). Different proposals in the UK have suggested a minimum efficiency standard for low income households. If delivered via the market and / or delivered by energy companies, regulators need to effectively enforce scheme targets to ensure progress is made. However, the definition of these targets is critical as well. For example, should a minimum set of measures be offered in order to ensure that renovations result in a significant improvement of energy performance? How should the energy performance be measured? If through energy bills, this could add to the burden of energy prices on lower income households, while through general taxation could be at risk from budget cuts (particularly in times of austerity). If paid for by homeowners / tenants, loan rates need to be attractive and split incentives overcome (between tenants-landlords), while full grants may need to be considered for low income households. Energiesprong (‘Energy Leap’) is an innovative scheme in the Netherland focused on social housing that aims to fund the investments in retrofit through bill savings, ensuring no net additional cost to tenants. Another interesting example is Croatia, where the proceeds from the sale of EU ETS permits are ring-fenced under an Environmental and Energy Efficiency Fund to fund subsidize more than 80% of total investment in energy efficiency measures.11 130 MEMBER STATE LEVEL REGULATION RELATED TO ENERGY POVERTY MEMBER STATE LEVEL REGULATION RELATED TO ENERGY POVERTY 131 AND VULNERABLE CONSUMERS AND VULNERABLE CONSUMERS

Fuel Poverty Strategy publication - South Ayrshire Council
Handbook on Poverty and Inequality - ISBN: 9780821376133
Understanding Fuel Poverty - CARDI
A review of Fuel Poverty and Low Income Housing, 2002
Mapping Poverty - Combat Poverty Agency
Energy Poverty
Still cold
UK Fuel Poverty Monitor
Housing, Poverty & Wealth in Ireland - Combat Poverty Agency
London’s Poverty Profile 2015