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European fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency (EPEE)

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'Fuel poverty' is a problem which can be tackled alongside gas emissions by retrofitting old buildings. This project focuses on low-income tenants who are victims of fuel poverty because they cannot afford to make improvements. Unless all actors get involved, both energy consumption in the home and greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise, aggravating fuel poverty further still. Though the phenomenon is not clearly defined across Europe, there is evidence of common trends such as unpaid energy bills, disease and self-disconnecting. The underlying goal is to identify the best and most appropriate mechanisms for each national context and to make fuel poverty a priority within national and European energy policies.


  • A European workshop organised to discuss definition of 'fuel poverty.' One of few existing definitions (from the United Kingdom) works on the principle that households which spend more than 10% of income on heating are fuel 'poor,' though this definition does not cover households that cannot afford any heating at all.
  • Sixteen workshops in five countries have taken place with the aim of finding solutions for fuel poverty. Options include: limiting impact of energy price rises; improving housing stock; and increasing household revenues.
  • While causes (increased prices, poor housing stock) and consequences (indebtedness, impact on health) of fuel poverty are similar across Europe, the approach of public authorities to the problem varies. For this reason, there is a lack of quantitative data.
  • Existing national policies for addressing fuel poverty have been analysed with a view to spreading best practice.

Lessons learned

  • The situations are relay different from a country to another
  • It is quite difficult to define common indicators and to find relevant quantitative data to characterize on a same basis the situation in the different countries.

Partners and coordinator

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Contact point: 
Pierre Nolay
0033 492 906 555


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In brief

01/12/2006 to 30/11/2009
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