Addressing energy poverty is an essential part of just and inclusive energy transition process. The energy poverty rates in the Energy Community Contracting Parties are among the highest in Europe. The situation has recently been exacerbated further with rapidly rising energy prices and inflation pushing more people into energy poverty and worsening their living standards.
The purpose of the Energy Community Centre for Alleviating Energy Poverty is:
- to collect data and information related to the causes and impact of energy poverty in the Energy Community Contracting Parties;
- to promote the development of appropriate policies and measures for reducing energy poverty;
- to provide a platform for discussion among the relevant energy sector stakeholders in the Energy Community.
Energy Poverty Coordination Group
To enhance assistance on the alleviation of energy poverty for the Contracting Parties in a meaningful and efficient way, the Secretariat established the Energy Poverty Coordination Group in December 2022. The Group creates a platform for cooperation between the national authorities of the Contracting Parties, namely representatives of the ministries responsible for energy policy and social affairs, and a close exchange with other institutions and organizations across Europe working on energy poverty issues.
The Group’s task is to assist the Contracting Parties in addressing energy poverty in the most effective way. The Group serves as a platform for sharing best practices and supporting the identification of appropriate measures that can be implemented to address and reduce energy poverty in the long term. Specifically, tasks include:
- Identifying the needs of the Contracting Parties to effectively address energy poverty and developing tangible solution for Contracting Parties’ individual needs;
- Discussing local perspectives on energy poverty and possibilities to approach municipalities in the fight against energy poverty;
- Share and discuss best practices, lessons learned, and the way forward in developing and implementing new legislations and policies for reducing energy poverty and in collecting data on the causes and impacts of energy poverty.
- Coordination Group
2023 Work Programme of Energy Poverty Coordination Group
Document Name Published on03.11.2023
Report on protection of vulnerable households
July 2023: Report on protection of vulnerable households in the Western Balkans
The report analyses how the Western Balkans Contracting Parties support the vulnerable and energy poor households during the energy crisis, particularly differentiating between the overall support for all households and the assistance to those in extreme need. In the framework of the EU Energy Support Package provided by the European Commission to the Western Balkans, it takes stock of the agreed-upon activities and those in the pipeline to assist in mitigating the immediate socio-economic impacts of the energy crisis.
The EU Energy Support Package in the Western Balkans is scheduled to be completed by December 2023. To quantify the effectiveness of the action, it will be necessary to analyse the data on disbursed funds and to benchmark the achieved targets against the set indicators. The Secretariat’s report draws preliminary conclusions and highlights the need to ensure market-based supply prices for households as well as adequate measures for protection of energy poor and vulnerable customers pursuant to the Energy Community legislation. The Western Balkans Contracting Parties are invited to apply both short- and long-term support measures to alleviate energy poverty, in order to relive the financial situation of poor households and stimulate energy savings at the same time.
- Poverty policy guidelines
August 2022: Policy Guidelines on identifying and addressing energy poverty
Published in August 2022, the Policy Guidelines on identifying and addressing Energy Poverty in the Energy Community Contracting Parties are designed with a view to assist the Energy Community Contracting Parties in supporting the most vulnerable categories of energy consumers.
The document provides guidance on:
- defining energy poverty indicators at national and local level,
- defining what constitutes a significant number of energy poor households in the Contracting Parties, and
- long- and short-term measures which could be used to address energy poverty, including those covered by the relevant sections of integrated National Energy and Climate Plans.
Document Name Published on29.08.2022
- Study on addressing energy poverty
December 2021: Study on addressing energy poverty
The fact that energy poverty rates in the Energy Community are among the highest in Europe was a starting point of the study. This is due to historical economic and infrastructural factors, paired with social and energy sector reforms during the post-communist transition. Energy poverty was further worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to increased unemployment, reduced household incomes, and rising energy demand in the region – all factors contributing to energy poverty.
- Poverty policy guidelines