Thousands more households experiencing energy poverty
Households living in a condition called “energy poverty” have shot up from 550,000 to 630,000 in recent months, according to NRC. All of these households spend between 13 and 20 percent of their total income on energy bills.
A major reason for energy poverty is the combination of a low income with old, poorly insulated houses. This leads to high gas and electricity bills, which consume a large part of an individual’s or family’s paycheck.
TNO researcher Peter Mulder described to NRC what energy poverty looks like for someone who earns 1,000 euros a month. “A quarter of your disposable income is spent on energy,” he said. “Add to that the rent (200 to 300 euros, after housing allowance) and you have lost 450 to 550 euros of your 1,000 in housing costs. Then there is very little left to eat, drink, use the internet and all other things in life.”
Because of the recent increase in energy costs, these households are set to spend even more ––up to a quarter of their total income –– on gas and electricity. In contrast, the average Dutch household spends five percent of its total income on energy bills.
The best long-term solution is to insulate old houses to lower energy bills and prevent them from sucking energy, Mulder told NRC. However, in the short term, the government can also compensate households experiencing energy poverty. Sources said Thursday that the Cabinet will increase financial assistance to low-income houses for energy payments –– possibly by hundreds of euros.