In a Europe with limited budgets and faltering solidarity, how can we reduce the fuel poverty of a growing percentage of the population?
The liberalisation of the European energy sector was supposed to drive down prices thanks to competition; instead, it helped to concentrate the number of operators and exclude new social groups. Energy insecurity has increased to the extent that it now affects the middle class —individuals who are gainfully employed, or families who own their own home: in other words, people who are often ineligible for social services.
Based on a study conducted in five different countries — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Poland and Hungary — this volume compares policies designed to address this still undefined and poorly targeted phenomenon. It illustrates how local and national public authorities, independently of their historical legacies and institutional constructions, are poorly equipped to provide efficient solutions to this problem. As a consequence, authorities must now deal with new stakeholders on the European scale: consortiums, networks of key players and consumer associations, for example.
This work paints a worrisome picture of the current scope of fuel povertyand its invisibility, but also presents a number of exciting new developments in the realm of collective action.
François Bafoil is a CNRS research director at the Centre d'études et de recherches internationales (Centre for International Research and Studies - CERI/Sciences Po). Ferenc Fodor is a researcher for EDF R&D. He also researches and teaches at Université Paris Descartes (in the Lasco laboratory). Finally, Fodor is also a research associate at the CERI, like Dominique Le Roux, who is likewise in charge of the ORISON project for EDF R&D. Amélie Bonnet and Rachel Guyet, study directors at the CERI, also contributed to this volume.