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Quantifying the prevalence of fuel poverty across the European Union

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Publication details

JournalEnergy policy
DateE-pub ahead of print - 25 Oct 2012
DatePublished (current) - Jan 2013
Issue numbern/a
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)563-572
Early online date25/10/12
Original languageEnglish


Fuel poverty, the phenomenon whereby a household struggles to “afford adequate services…clearly demonstrated when the home is cold or fuel debts accumulate” (Boardman, 2010b: 256), is likely to be an increasing policy problem for countries across the EU, particularly at a time of rising fuel prices, and in the context of the accession of numerous former socialist states.

The literature and policy base for fuel poverty in the UK and Ireland is well established, however, on a European level, the last analysis of fuel poverty was conducted in 2004, prior to the enlargement of the EU. Using survey data this paper presents an updated overview of the prevalence of European fuel poverty.

Analysis reveals that in excess of 1.6 million households report simultaneously experiencing three dimensions of fuel poverty, whilst nearly 9 million households report experiencing two of these indicators, suggesting the phenomenon of fuel poverty is to be found across the EU.

This paper is a result of research undertaken in 2011 within the umbrella of work examining issues of poverty and social exclusion across the EU, which has enabled access to the EU-SILC dataset. The authors acknowledge eaga Charitable Trust who generously supported this research.

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