Will the EU electricity market protect Europeans from disconnection?

(EurActiv, 11 Oct 2018) The EU has recognised access to energy as a human right. But whether it will enforce a disconnection safeguard remains to be seen, writes Guillaume Derivaux.

Guillaume Durivaux is Policy Officer for the Utilities sector at EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Unions.

Fifteen years after Europe’s deadliest heat wave of 2003, this summer’s record-breaking temperatures reopened big conversations on summer energy poverty. The debate took place in a context of rising energy prices and as statistics showed that 1 in 5 Europeans cannot afford to keep their home cool in the summer.

Awareness on energy poverty is increasing all over Europe. In Spain, the newly appointed minister for the ecological transition, Teresa Ribera, named the issue a priority after a record rise in energy prices, and has announced a national strategy to combat it. In the UK, caps on energy prices are being implemented under a conservative government. Romania recently identified energy poverty as a top priority.

Brussels is no exception. Energy poverty was included in most of the legislative proposals of the 2030 EU Energy package, and last January, the European Energy Poverty Observatory was launched with the aim to “engender transformational change in knowledge about the extent of energy poverty in Europe, and innovative policies and practices to combat it”.

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EurActiv, 11 Oct 2018: Will the EU electricity market protect Europeans from disconnection?