Energy poverty: cold in the house and fleece blankets for visitors

Energy poverty: cold in the house and fleece blankets for visitors

It is special that Mirjam van der Hak still gets visitors, she says with a laugh. It is often cold at her house. “In winter I always offer visitors a fleece blanket, and I myself am wearing my thick house suit,” says the resident of The Hague, who lives with her 21-year-old son.

The corner house from the 1930s has not been renovated and there is a lot of draft, says Van der Hak. She never leaves the heating on for long, she can’t afford that with an income of around 1,500 euros a month. It has been that way for eleven years – since she rented the house. With energy prices rising, she’s worried about energy bills. “If I really have to, I will live a more primitive life, light a fire in the garden or something.”

The natural gas price is unprecedentedly high, while many Dutch homes are not yet well insulated. The costs can be high, which affects low-income households.

Energy bills could be up to hundreds of euros per year higher this year. During the General Political Reflections on Thursday, it was agreed that the tax on energy will be reduced by 375 million euros. That equates to an average of 40 euros per household.

Earlier that Thursday, research institute TNO published new figures: around 550,000 households in the Netherlands suffer from energy poverty. They have a low income of which they spend a large part on energy – between 13 and 20 percent.

Or they have a low income and live in a poorly insulated house, such as Van der Hak. That too is energy poverty, the researchers say.

What is it like to live in an energy-poor situation, now that energy prices are rising, and how can the phenomenon be explained?

The gas price – which partly also determines the price for electricity – is driven up by a number of reasons, says professor of energy economics Machiel Mulder, affiliated with the University of Groningen. Partly because less gas is coming from Groningen and deliveries from Russia have been delayed, the gas price has increased fivefold in one year.

High burden on households

In addition, there are ‘strong’ political choices behind energy costs, says Professor Mulder. “For households, a large part of the bill consists of taxes. This is much less true for industry. The idea behind this is that large companies will leave the Netherlands if the bill were to fall to them. There is an exemption for households that consume little, but income is not taken into account.”

Amsterdam resident Tanja from Bos en Lommer rents a new-build home from a corporation and is concerned about rising energy prices. A few years ago, the person entitled to social assistance received an additional assessment of 400 euros. “That was very frightening. Since then I hardly dare to turn on the heating. Now I get money back every year. It would be difficult for me to absorb such a high additional tax.” NRC viewed its annual accounts.

Good insulation is not always a realistic option for energy-poor households, write the TNO researchers. Sometimes they as owners cannot afford the costs of sustainability themselves, sometimes the landlord does not cooperate. In three quarters of the cases, the landlord is a housing association, according to the TNO study. “Even if there are no payment problems, they relatively often suffer from a lack of living comfort (draught, moisture, heat) and associated health problems.”

Also read this piece: Is Russia manipulating the gas price? No, says the Kremlin. Yes, experts think

Energy label D

Frans van der Heijden from The Hague also tries to use as little energy as possible. “When I once received a high tax, my heart almost jumped into my brain,” says the tenant of a corner house from the 1950s. The house has energy label D. In the photos he sent to him via WhatsApp NRC sends to see cracks, moisture and cracks. “It’s not hot here. My grandchildren are no longer coming.”

Mirjam van der Hak from The Hague shows a pile of fleece blankets. It is difficult to see from her rented house that it is poorly insulated. It looks neat after a few cracks. It is hard to imagine, in September, that it really gets that cold in the winter at Van der Hak. “The cold enters the room through the floor. The outer walls are always cold.” When you knock, some outer walls sound hollow, others stony. This does not indicate that the material insulates well.

She thinks the cold is less bad for herself than for her son Max, says Van der Hak. He has a muscle disease, which means that he has a poorly functioning immune system and limited stamina. The cold aggravates his symptoms.

Van der Hak knew at the time that she would be renting a poorly insulated house, „But I was so happy that I could get a house. It had to be a ground floor apartment because of my son’s muscle disease. One bedroom was actually not enough for the three of us, with son and daughter. I didn’t care, I sleep in the living room. My daughter, when she still lived at home, slept in a shed in the garden.”

The house was never renovated, because the previous residents did not want to participate when the neighborhood was renovated. The house still has (the lowest) energy label G. The houses of the neighbors now have energy label D.

Role of housing associations

The housing corporation from which she rents – she prefers not to mention the name because they ‘have to continue working together’ – should have given her better information at the time about the risk of a high energy bill, she thinks. She shows a message she sent to her landlord a year ago: “My house is very cold and not insulated, I would like that for my son. The heat goes away immediately,” it says. Van der Hak: “I never got a response to that.”

Housing associations no longer receive disturbing reports from residents about the quality of their homes, now that gas prices have risen, say Ymere, Vestia and Nijestee. “We sometimes receive questions from residents who want to know when their homes are due to be made more sustainable,” Vestia says in writing in response to questions from NRC.

Making the entire housing stock more sustainable is a major task, say the housing associations. For example, a spokesperson for Ymere (73,000 social rental homes in the Amsterdam area) says: “Most of the homes in our stock are old, many were built in the 1920s and 1930s. We’ve made a lot of steps, but we can’t do everything at once. Sometimes the only option is to demolish and rebuild. 52 percent of the homes now have energy label B.”

Jan-Jaap Vogel, real estate director of housing corporation Nijestee (Groningen) agrees that some groups have to wait. “We do show the energy label of a home clearly on the site, so new residents know what they get.”

Energy poverty: cold in the house and fleece blankets for visitors

Mirjam van der Hak’s housing corporation in The Hague has it the lowest energy label G. She has a stack of fleece blankets ready for when visitors arrive. “The cold enters the room through the floor. The outer walls are always cold too,” she says. There were no answers to questions to the housing association about the cold in the house.

Publishing the energy label when selling or renting has been mandatory since 2008. Vogel: “But residents often find it more important to be able to move into a home at all, not necessarily the energy label.”

Rent increase with double glazing

The corporations Ymere, Nijestee and Vestia say that renovating individual homes or making them more sustainable is complicated. Ymere: “Renovating per district is many times more efficient.” Tenants can request solar panels or double glazing from the corporations, which can often be placed against a rent increase. Whether that works depends on the situation. Do the neighbors have the same need? And is it a flat or terraced house? Vogel: “We would rather go on the roof for six solar panels at once, than for each panel again.”

The corporations do offer free energy coaches. With draft strips and radiator foil you can go a long way if you want to consume less, says Nijestee director Vogel. But in the long run, “renovation of poorly insulated homes is necessary.”

Rising energy prices are not bad for everyone. Some actually benefit from it. Such as Jan-Willem Zwang from Woudenberg. “I now produce more energy than I use, thanks to my solar panels. I am smart with my consumption, I have an electric car and a heat pump. I sell the surpluses – they go back into the net. So I benefit from the rising prices, but I don’t mind for people who can’t afford it.”

A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of September 29, 2021

Energy poverty: cold in the house and fleece blankets for visitors
Source link Energy poverty: cold in the house and fleece blankets for visitors

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Shoppers Stop Standalone September 2021 Net Sales at Rs 631.60 crore, up 115.99% Y-o-Y

Reported Standalone quarterly numbers for Shoppers Stop are: Net Sales at Rs 631.60 crore in September 2021 up 115.99% from Rs. 292.42 crore in September 2020. Quarterly Net Loss at ... Read more »

Snowman Logist Standalone September 2021 Net Sales at Rs 70.07 crore, up 21.45% Y-o-Y

Reported Standalone quarterly numbers for Snowman Logistics are: Net Sales at Rs 70.07 crore in September 2021 up 21.45% from Rs. 57.69 crore in September 2020. Quarterly Net Profit at ... Read more »

Tata Comm Consolidated September 2021 Net Sales at Rs 4,174.02 crore, down 5.16% Y-o-Y

Reported Consolidated quarterly numbers for Tata Communications are: Net Sales at Rs 4,174.02 crore in September 2021 down 5.16% from Rs. 4,401.08 crore in September 2020. Quarterly Net Profit at ... Read more »

Havells India Consolidated September 2021 Net Sales at Rs 3,238.04 crore, up 31.65% Y-o-Y

Reported Consolidated quarterly numbers for Havells India are: Net Sales at Rs 3,238.04 crore in September 2021 up 31.65% from Rs. 2,459.49 crore in September 2020. Quarterly Net Profit at ... Read more »

Marmite maker Unilever warns worst is ahead as it hikes prices to offset 'unprecedented' cost inflation

Unilever says it is taking a series of actions to combat surging production and distribution costs - prices that consumers are unlikely to be shielded from. Read more »

Facebook: Senators urged Mark Zuckerberg to give up its Novi crypto wallet pilot

Photo by: Novi/YouTube Facebook dropped its Novi crypto wallet this week for a pilot run, and just hours after its launch, government officials have called on Mark Zuckerberg to immediately ... Read more »

Malaysia could reopen to international tourists in November, says tourism minister

Malaysia aims to reopen to international tourists in November, and travelers from neighboring Singapore could be among the first to be allowed into the country, the Malaysian tourism minister told ... Read more »

Unemployment down again in last month of massive corona support

Unemployment as a share of the labor force has fallen to 3.1 percent as a result. That is the same percentage as in July. In August, Statistics Netherlands noted a ... Read more »

Scott Technology returns to the black, signs $20m US contract

Freshly streamlined automation and robotics company Scott Technology has returned to profit. The company reported a net profit $9.5m for the year to August after restructuring costs took the company ... Read more »

Unacademy ropes in Zomato's Deepinder Goyal as board member

Zomato’s Deepinder Goyal has joined Unacademy as a board member. Temasek-backed ed-tech firm Unacademy has roped in existing angel investor and Zomato’s founder Deepinder Goyal on its board. Goyal invested ... Read more »

CBS: unemployment down in September

Unemployment fell in September. According to Statistics Netherlands (CBS), thousands of people managed to get back to work in the last month of the massive corona support for businesses. As ... Read more »

Ahead of T20 World Cup, Twitter brings Communities to India and rolls out live cricket scorecards

Twitter has extended its Communities feature to India with the launch of a Cricket-focused community called Cricket Twitter-India that will enable users to talk all things cricket in multiple Indian ... Read more »

Strong Randstad recovery from corona crisis with profit doubling

“The company is in very good condition,” said departing CEO Jacques van den Broek during the presentation of the quarterly figures. “Not only in this quarter, but we came out ... Read more »

Thodi si to lift kara de: How to prepare your best elevator pitch

Note to readers: This is the first installment of a new series of articles designed to give our readers an edge on matters of competitiveness, upskilling/reskilling and knowledge gathering. Essayed ... Read more »

Asia stocks slip as Evergrande jitters return

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Asian stocks slipped on Thursday (Oct 21) as the upbeat mood that carried the Dow Jones and Bitcoin to records a day earlier ran out of steam, ... Read more »

Energy boss demands price cap reform as firms face '£5bn bill' for market mess

Scottish Power's chief executive argues that the current market is unsustainable and could force a return to the days of only a 'big six' group of suppliers without urgent action. Read more »

China: Crunch time for Evergrande as unit sale collapses

The collapse of China Evergrande’s planned $2.5 billion sale of a property services unit has left the troubled company closer than ever to its end, ramping up fears it will ... Read more »

Tata Motors share price gains 2% after Jefferies raises target to Rs 625, maintains 'buy'

Tata Motors share price rose over 2 percent in the early trade on October 21 after foreign research house Jefferies raised target price to Rs 625 from Rs 565, maintaining ... Read more »

Railway Board is not keen on merging CRIS with IRCTC. Here's why

A month after the Finance Ministry asked Indian Railways to merge the Centre for Railway Information and Systems (CRIS) and RailTel with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the ... Read more »

Hainan's January-September tourism revenues grew 136.9% year-on-year

The province’s total revenue amounted to $16.7 billion Read more »

Facebook may change its name to rebrand itself while also focusing on metaverse

Photo by: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay Facebook is reportedly planning to change its name to something related to metaverse and rebrand itself. It was reported this week that as it is heavily ... Read more »

House of Commons showdown looms over bid to end 'fire and rehire' practice

A campaign in support of the bill, bankrolled by trade unions, is reaching a crescendo ahead of the bill's second reading on Friday, when ministers are expected to be accused of breaking promises to act. Read more »

Media: Hainan National Park to be an important link in a new model of green development

According to the Hainan Daily newspaper, the protected rainforest area will be an important strategic factor which will considerably raise tourism standards Read more »

Congratulations pour in as India races past 100-crore-jab milestone

File image of PM Modi getting first dose of Covaxin on March 1, 2021. (Image: Twitter-@narendramodi) Praise has poured in for India reaching the 100-crore-vaccination milestone from all quarters, from ... Read more »

China Evergrande secures extension on defaulted $260 mln bond -REDD

China Evergrande Group has secured an extension on a defaulted bond, financial provider REDD reported on Thursday, offering rare respite to the developer a day after a deal to sell ... Read more »

Havells India share price declines 9% post Q2 results announcement

Havells India share price slipped 9 percent intraday on October 21, a day after the consumer electrical goods maker announced its September quarter results. Havells India on Wednesday reported a ... Read more »

Rel Ind Infra Consolidated September 2021 Net Sales at Rs 16.74 crore, up 22.84% Y-o-Y

Reported Consolidated quarterly numbers for Reliance Industrial Infrastructure are: Net Sales at Rs 16.74 crore in September 2021 up 22.84% from Rs. 13.63 crore in September 2020. Quarterly Net Profit ... Read more »

KSolves Consolidated September 2021 Net Sales at Rs 10.70 crore, up 53.97% Y-o-Y

Reported Consolidated quarterly numbers for KSolves India are: Net Sales at Rs 10.70 crore in September 2021 up 53.97% from Rs. 6.95 crore in September 2020. Quarterly Net Profit at ... Read more »

Rel Ind Infra Standalone September 2021 Net Sales at Rs 16.74 crore, up 22.84% Y-o-Y

Reported Standalone quarterly numbers for Reliance Industrial Infrastructure are: Net Sales at Rs 16.74 crore in September 2021 up 22.84% from Rs. 13.63 crore in September 2020. Quarterly Net Profit ... Read more »

Filing your income-tax returns? Avoid these five mistakes

Filing income tax returns can be challenging, even if you are not new to the process. As if the cumbersome paperwork is not enough to test your patience, a smooth ... Read more »

Dollar rises to 70.86 rubles

The euro remained unchanged, amounting to 82.5 rubles Read more »

Excited about the entry of many new-age fund houses? Wait before investing in their schemes

Several new fund houses joining the already crowded Indian AMC (asset management company) space. But given that we have less than 5 percent equity penetration here, this may exactly be ... Read more »

Climate change: Household banks have invested billions in firms involved in deforestation, report claims

HSBC was the largest British-based financer of destructive agribusiness making deals worth $6.85bn (£5.25bn). Read more »

‘The Netherlands missed out on 27 billion euros in dividend tax between 2000 and 2020'

Between 2000 and 2020, the Dutch treasury may have lost 27 billion euros in dividend tax. The Dutch government and other European governments have been defrauded or duped for a ... Read more »

India has hit the 100-crore vaccination mark

FIle image: AP Read more »

Wealthy investors chase risky bonds and market-linked debentures: Here's why

The low interest rate environment and soaring equity market have nudged savvy and rich investors towards fixed-income investments that offer higher yields. Others are also looking at market-linked debentures for ... Read more »

Facebook and the dangers of a single-minded focus on profit maximisation

Mark Zuckerberg (Image: Reuters) Data engineer-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony at the United States congressional hearing, on October 5, was clear, and articulate as she spoke about how Facebook Inc (FB) ... Read more »

PNB Housing seeks to withdraw appeal from securities tribunal

PNB Housing Finance filed an application on October 19 before Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) to withdraw the appeal against SEBI, the mortgage lender said in an exchange release. On October ... Read more »

What should investors do with Jubilant FoodWorks post-Q2 earnings: buy, sell or hold?

Jubilant FoodWorks share price fell 4 percent in the early trade on October 21, a day after the company that operates fast-food chains such as Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic