Czech coal mining regions confronted with ‘hidden’ energy poverty

(EurActiv, 22 Feb 2021) While Czech coal mining regions supply heat and electricity to the whole country, local people are often unable to afford heating their own homes, researchers say. More broadly, Czechia is struggling to meet its EU reporting obligations on energy poverty, an issue common to other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

About 14% of households in the Ústecký region – one of Czechia’s three coal mining regions – face problems paying their heating bills, according to research by the Prague University of Economics and Businesses (VŠE).

The second most affected region is Moravskoslezský kraj, another Czech coal-mining region, found the study, published in May 2019.

“Energy poverty is caused mainly by ineffective buildings and appliances, low incomes of households, high costs of energy and special needs of its consumers,” said Radek Tahal from VŠE.

At European level though, the Czech Republic is considered to be among the best in class when it comes to preventing energy poverty.

Officially at least, that’s what the statistics show.

In 2018, 2.7% of the Czechs were reportedly unable to keep their home adequately warm while the European average is 7.3%, according to the EU Energy Poverty Observatory. And only 2.1% of the Czech population cannot pay their energy bills on time due to financial difficulties, while the EU average is 6.6%.

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EurActiv, 22 Feb 2021: Czech coal mining regions confronted with ‘hidden’ energy poverty