About 550,000 Dutch households live in so-called energy poverty. They have high energy bills, usually a poorly insulated house and a low income. This is the conclusion of research organization TNO, based on figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics from 2019 for more than 6.1 million households.
TNO has not only conducted research into the nature and extent of the problem, but has also measured for the first time where various forms of energy poverty mainly occur in the Netherlands.
“Contrary to expectations, we mainly see energy poverty outside the Randstad: in the north, east and southeast of the country and partly in Zeeland,” says Peter Mulder, principal researcher at TNO. “There you have relatively many people with a low income and houses where, so to speak, the wind blows through the room.”
Insulation of houses
According to Mulder, in order to gain a better insight into energy poverty, it is not only necessary to look at the affordability of energy bills, which could rise sharply this year. The quality of the home also plays a role, as does the extent to which residents can make their home more sustainable.
TNO distinguishes two groups. On the one hand, there are tenants of poorly insulated houses who cannot do anything about this, because the landlord is responsible for making them more sustainable. On the other hand, there are owners of “energy-guzzling” houses who do not have the money to invest in a more energy-efficient house.
“Our research shows that almost half of the households live in an insufficiently insulated house and cannot do much about it. A large part of them currently have no problem paying their energy bills. increases, some of the households in this group may still have a payment problem,” warns Mulder.
According to TNO, accelerating the energy transition helps to combat energy poverty. “By making more homes more sustainable now with a targeted policy, we can prevent more households from getting into trouble and help kick-start the energy transition,” says Mulder.
No income poverty
The more than half a million households living in energy poverty represent about 7 percent of the total number of households. By way of comparison: income poverty occurs in about 15 percent of all households. According to TNO, energy poverty and income poverty are related, but the phenomena do not always coincide.
Researcher Mulder: “Energy poverty is more concentrated. In only five municipalities and 7 percent of the neighbourhoods, more than 10 percent of households are energy-poor. This makes targeted policy per municipality or region easier.”
More than half a million households live in ‘energy poverty’
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