Selecting Indicators to Measure Energy Poverty

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This report was published by Trinomics in 2016, at the request of the European Commission. Its main purpose is to support the European Commission to gain a better insight into energy poverty by refining EU wide data collection and monitoring.


In particular, the objectives of this analysis are:


  • to distinguish suitable indicators for regular and systematic evaluation of energy poverty and identify the effect of policies in the EU;
  • to suggest the most appropriate set of indicators, taking into account the need to ameliorate the comparability and monitoring of energy poverty across the Member States;  and
  • to provide recommendations on options for an online tool that could assist the progress of monitoring and comparing energy poverty, its drivers and outcomes, and at the same time to make available information on measures confronting energy poverty

In summary, in this study, a conceptual map is provided to assist the examination of the reasons behind energy poverty and its consequences. This conceptual map identifies the essential indicators that could deal with understanding, monitoring and modeling the energy poverty problem in a practical way. However, due to the multifaceted nature of the idea of energy poverty, it can only be adequately outlined through a set of few but conceptually different indicators. Thus, this study evaluates 178 indicators used in the existing literature and the most suitable amongst them were shortlisted.  The preferred indicators come under the following two categories:


  • Expenditure-based: Objective metrics that represent affordability of sufficient energy services or insufficient energy usage rate by using financial information.
  • Consensual- based: Self-reported subjective metrics that provide an effective way of understanding perceived energy poverty by households and give unambiguous insights than quantitative metrics.

Additionally, a set of supporting indicators was compiled. These indicators capture factors that relate to energy poverty and can help explain and predict the phenomenon


It is important to note that the aforementioned metrics try to capture also the contribution of a set of significant drivers that could lead to energy poverty and they are closely related to buildings. Such drivers are the dwelling stock and its tenure, the building’s fabric quality and its efficiency, the heating system’s type and its efficiency and finally the energy infrastructure that supplies the building stock. As it is depicted, building technology hand in hand with policy interventions and other socio-economic factors, plays a crucial role in alleviating energy poverty.


Concluding, the report highlights that energy poverty is a complex and multi-dimensional concept that is not cognisable well enough neither is measured adequately by any single quantitative indicator.


To download and read the full report, please visit the webpage at the link provided below.