European households continue to spend an increasing share of income on energy, leading to higher rates of energy poverty and negatively affecting living conditions and health. Recent estimates suggest that more than 50 million Europeans are affected by energy poverty. Adopting energy efficiency measures at the household level and increasing the use of renewable energy are key tools in addressing energy poverty and can bring energy savings, leading to lower fuel costs and improved living conditions. The issue is in part exacerbated by a lack of sufficient knowledge on how to identify energy poor households.
In this context, the role of local and national authorities, related networks and initiatives, and availability of support schemes are important to ensure the sustainability and larger scale uptake of the measures.
Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes can also be used to promote social aims, such as tackling energy poverty. The obligated parties (utilities) have potentially at their disposal the necessary data and means to identify energy poverty among their customers and effectively address it by fulfilling in this way the energy efficiency obligation. Building the capacity of the obligated parties is needed in order to spread such schemes across the EU.