About 550,000 Dutch families live in so-called energy poverty. They have high energy bills, usually a poorly insulated home and low income. That’s the conclusion of the research organization TNO, based on figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics from 2019 for more than 6.1 million households.
TNO has not only conducted research into the nature and extent of the problem, but has also for the first time measured cases in which various forms of energy poverty occur mainly in the Netherlands.
“Contrary to expectations, we mainly see energy poverty outside the Randstad: in the north, east and southeast of the country and partly in Zeeland,” says Peter Mulder, principal investigator at TNO. “There are a fairly large number of people on low incomes and homes where, so to speak, the wind is blowing in the room.”
According to Mulder, in order to get a better view of energy poverty, the affordability of this year’s energy bill should not only be looked at. It can be hard. The quality of the home also plays a role, as does the extent to which residents can make their homes more sustainable.
TNO distinguishes two groups. On the other hand, there are poorly insulated home tenants who can’t do anything about it, because the landlord is responsible for making it more sustainable. On the other hand, there are “energy consuming” homeowners who do not have the money to invest in a more energy efficient home.
“Our research shows that nearly half of families live in a home that is not sufficiently insulated and can do little about it. A large portion of them currently have no problem paying their energy bills. Increasingly, some families in this group may still have a problem. In pushing, Mulder warns.
According to TNO, accelerating the energy transition helps fight energy poverty. “By making more homes more sustainable now with a targeted policy, we can prevent more families from getting into trouble and help kickstart the energy transition,” Mulder says.
There is no income poverty
More than half a million households living in energy poverty represent about 7 percent of the total number of households. By way of comparison: income poverty occurs in about 15 percent of all households. According to TNO, energy poverty and income poverty are related, but the phenomena do not always coincide.
Researcher Mulder: “Energy poverty is more concentrated. In only five municipalities and only 7 percent of neighborhoods, more than 10 percent of households are energy poor. This makes target policy for each municipality or region easier.”
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