EAPN’s briefing on “The Right to Affordable Clean Energy” addresses energy poverty within the framework of the EU transitioning to a climate-neutral and low-carbon economy. The overarching position is that a socially just transition is contingent on the EU and Member States guaranteeing access to affordable and clean energy for all.
This position is supported in the briefing through a comprehensive background on energy poverty. The briefing explains that energy poverty results from a combination of structural factors: income poverty and inequality, unfair energy prices, and poor quality and inefficient housing. Moreover, it calls for the recognition of energy as a fundamental right, an essential service recognised under principles 19 and 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and a service of general interest under EU law.
Furthermore, the briefing formulates clear and precise recommendations on the EU and national levels, with additional guidance towards market reforms and energy measures, to assert the right for affordable and clean energy for all Europeans. The briefing proposes a three-pillar approach which centres adequate incomes, fair prices and energy efficiency within policy and regulatory frameworks, and market reforms to protect energy-poor and low-income households. This recommendation is complimented by proposals for income support, emergency response measures, long-term policies focusing on structural causes, public investment in targeted renovation, and quality job creation through the development of large-scale upskilling and reskilling programs. These recommendations can contribute towards addressing energy-poverty in the immediate and long-term basis and ensuring that affordable and clean energy is foundational to the green transition.
As energy poverty impacts different groups of people that Eurodiaconia’s members’ organizations are working with, many of our members have facilitated programs to ensure and maintain people’s access to energy. This work has included the promotion of energy efficient behaviour and energy saving projects, with support focused on emergency relief services and extended debt-counselling services. Additionally, Eurodiaconia has committed to monitoring the EU’s energy measures, to ensure the transition responds adequately to energy poverty.
EAPN’s briefing on “The Right to Affordable and Clean Energy For all Europeans” can be found here.