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Parliamentary questions
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20 February 2017
Answer given by Mr Arias Cañete on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-009402/2016

1. Energy poverty is a major challenge across the EU. In 2014, the lowest-income households in the EU spent 9% of their total expenditure on energy. Energy poverty can be tackled through the social security system and energy efficiency. The Clean Energy for all Europeans package supports Member States in their efforts to reduce energy poverty. For example, the package will require Member States to implement a share of energy efficiency measures in households affected by energy poverty or in social housing. In addition, the Commission supports Member States in their actions by sharing good practices on policies to tackle energy poverty.

2. A study, requested by the European Commission, evaluated the levels of support to vulnerable and energy poor consumers in the EU(1). The study found that support delivered through the social security system is one of the major tools to protect energy poor and vulnerable consumers.

3. Member States, regions and cities have the primary role in addressing energy poverty. The Clean Energy for all Europeans package establishes that Member States will monitor and report on energy poverty while the Commission will facilitate the exchange of good practices via an Energy Poverty Observatory. Moreover, the Commission proposes procedural safeguards before a consumer can be disconnected and launched the Smart Financing for Smart Buildings Initiative, which in cooperation with the EIB and Member States, will unlock public and private funds for energy efficiency and renewables in buildings. EUR 5.4 billion has already been allocated for energy efficiency investments in housing under the EU cohesion policy. This means that almost 1 million households will benefit from EU support to make their buildings more efficient in 2014-2020.

(1)Energy poverty and vulnerable consumers in the energy sector across the EU: analysis of policies and measures. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/INSIGHT_E_Energy%20Poverty%20-%20Main%20Report_FINAL.pdf

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