EU Energy Poverty Observatory: Yet another empty shell?

By Floriane Cappelletti on 8 February 2018

On 29 January, the European Commission launched its Energy Poverty Observatory, resulting from a 40-month project implemented by a consortium of 13 organisations, including universities, advocacy groups, think tanks, and the business sector. A helpful tool to fight against energy poverty... or another empty shell?

With an opening panel composed of Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, MEP Jerzy Buzek, Theresa Griffin and Claude Turmes, and moderated by EU Director-General for Energy Dominique Ristori, the European Commission put on a great spread for the launch event of its Energy Poverty Observatory.

EU Commission Vice-President Šefčovič has great ambitions for this platform, that not only aims at "collecting data but should also actively engage with national and local stakeholders", "push Member States to clearly define energy poverty and to report every two year".

If no common definition of energy poverty seems necessary to the Commission, MEP Theresa Griffin and Claude Turmes have a different opinion. "How can we solve a problem if we do not agree on what is the problem?", the latter asked.

At least, everyone on the stage agreed that energy poverty is an issue to be urgently tackled. MEP Jerzy Buzek shared his concern about his birth country (Poland), where "half of all vulnerable households are not poor in terms of income, but have to put over 10% of their income in heating only." "We know that some in society struggle to pay the bills", MEP Griffin added.

Arrears on utility bills - Source: SILC, HS020/HS021 (Click on the image to enlarge)

Besides bringing together the disparate sources of data and knowledge that exist across the EU, the Energy Poverty Observatory provides some encouraging features, such as a ’Knowledge and Resources’ section where best-practices, policy measures and training materials are shared, and a forum (open to all through a free membership scheme) enabling networking between a great variety of stakeholders and different governance levels.

Energy Cities counts a great number of member cities who are taking bold measures to tackle energy poverty. We can only agree that networking and sharing best practices - which is our raison d’être - is key to solving such burning issues. We’ll be following the work and results of this Observatory, as, just like Theresa Griffin, we are convinced that "our collective good intention needs consolidated action to make a difference for our citizens."

Discover what Energy Cities’ members are doing to fight energy poverty in our cities’ actions database.

© image pogonici -

Map of members
Vilvoorde Belgium | Wien Austria | Krizevci Croatia | Sustainable City Network (GR) Greece | CEDEF-Central European Development Forum (RS) Serbia
Events to come
Catalysing European Local Climate Action
Tuesday 21 May

Covenant of Mayors webinar: reporting framework revision
Tuesday 21 May 10:30-12:30

Energy Cities Annual Conference
From 22 to 23 May

Le photovoltaïque en milieu urbain
Wednesday 22 May

Urban Future Global Conference #UFGC19
From 22 to 24 May

Covenant of Mayors workshop at UFGC: Covenant cities leading long-term climate strategies
Wednesday 22 May 13:30-14:30

All coming events >>
Find Energy Cities on
You are here: Energy Cities, Local authorities in energy transition. > Newsletters > Newsletter - Energy Cities - en > 258 - February 2018

About us
In a nutshell
Privacy policy
EU Policy
How to join
Why we joined
Initiatives & Campaigns
Annual Conferences
Study Tours
Energy transition: our proposals
Best practices from members
EC INFO Magazine
Press releases
Communication tools

Addresses Energy Cities - Besançon Energy Cities - Bruxelles