Europe Energy Costs: Choose Eating or Heating

The rich don’t care about energy costs. They can lobby for carbon taxes and massive subsides for wind knowing full well it is a trivial amount of their spending.

The poor though. They get screwed.

“An estimated 54 million Europeans suffer from energy poverty, according to a European Commission analysis, which blames rising prices, low income and energy inefficient homes for forcing people to choose between eating or heating.

You are in energy poverty if you cannot afford to heat your home at an affordable cost. Almost 11% of the EU’s population are faced with that reality, according to the Commission.

Despite this, less than a third of the member states officially recognise energy poverty, and only a few define it in their national laws.

Consumers spend on average 6.4% of their total consumption on electricity, gas, heating and cooling – up by 15% compared to five years ago.A693C0 elderly lady holding her hands near an electric fire

Fuel poverty is not about being poor, but about a combination of low-quality housing and high energy prices causing financial difficulties, and ultimately compromising health and well-being.

Eurostat figures for 2014, the most recent year with complete results, showed that almost half of Bulgarians suffer from energy poverty.

40% of its 6.9 million 2014 population – about 2.8 million people – can’t afford to heat their homes.

The figures, obtained by, revealed that just over a third of Greeks (32.9%) – more than 3.5 million people – were in the same situation.

28% of the Portuguese population,  27.5% of Cypriots, 26.5% of Lithuanians and 22.1% of Maltese are in energy poverty, according to the EU’s statistics service.

Latvia (16.8%), Romania (12.3%), Hungary (11.6%) come next in the scale. Italy scores at 18% and Spain 11%.

Energy poverty is particularly prevalent in southern and central European households but by no means exclusively so.


One thought on “Europe Energy Costs: Choose Eating or Heating

  1. The social cost of fuel poverty is massive, and growing. In the winter of 2012/13, there were 31,000 extra winter deaths in England and Wales, a rise of 29% on the previous year. Around 30-50% of these deaths can be linked to being cold indoors. And not being able to heat your home also takes a huge toll on health in general: those in fuel poverty have higher incidences of asthma, bronchitis, heart and lung disease, kidney disease and mental health problems.

    Record number of German households have electricity disconnected following high prices

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