With January's energy bills, we're often reminded that 'fuel poverty' is a serious problem that we're not only failing to tackle, but yet failing to even define - despite the EC's explicit requirement to create a workable definition. All three factors that determine the level of energy poverty - low incomes, high energy prices and inefficient buildings - are still present, and Bulgarian households remain the most energy poor in Europe.

The solution that can address the causes of energy poverty is energy-efficient building renovation: it directly reduces energy costs while facilitating the modernisation of heating systems and improving air quality.

In view of the expected introduction of co-financing in building renovation programmes and the need to maintain full support for vulnerable consumers in order not to block the implementation of projects, the Center for Energy Efficiency EnEffect proposes the following DEFINITION OF ENERGY POVERTY

Energy poor are those households whose disposable income, after ensuring the legally established temperatures in the heated part of their homes, falls below the official poverty line.

In contrast to the existing heating subsidies available to only 250,000 households, the application of this definition will cover more than 40% of Bulgarian citizens who objectively cannot afford investments to maintain and renovate their homes.

When implementing building renovation measures, EnEffect experts expect only the lowest-income households to remain in a situation of energy poverty, and combining energy subsidies with building renovation programs to have a serious social, environmental and financial effect.

In 2022, EnEffect will organize a series of events in which it will present the results of surveys on the quality of life and the attitude of households to investments in energy efficiency. The full report with a rationale for the proposed definition of energy poverty can be found at www.eneffect.bg

Towards developing a definition of energy poverty to support building renovation programmes: 

Summary to the analytical report in Bulgarian and English.

Study to develop a definition of "Energy Poverty" in Bulgaria, EnEffect, September 2021 - Analytical Report.