Tooraj Jamasb and Helena Meier
Energy Spending and Vulnerable Households
Abstract: A sustainable energy policy needs to balance between the reduction of carbon emissions and protection of vulnerable households and avoid a widening of the existing “energy gap” among the consumers. This study investigates energy spending for different consumer groups, in particular focussing on vulnerable households. Vulnerable households are more likely to be affected by fuel poverty and have difficulties in warming their homes adequately. In this context we explore energy spending among households on very low incomes, including pensioners, female single parent, and benefit recipients. We describe how energy spending of these households has changed over time using a household panel dataset covering a period of 17 years, starting in 1991. We discuss the reasons that these households have higher than average energy bills and the current policy context and approaches such as the implementation of smart metres are addressed.
Keywords: Fuel poverty, energy equity, energy spending