Europe's Fuel Crisis May Drive Households Into 'Energy Poverty', UN Agency Chief Says
MOSCOW (Sputnik), Andrei Savenkov - The ongoing fuel crisis in the European Union will undermine the economies of the bloc's most vulnerable countries and leave many households struggling to pay energy bills, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Olga Algayerova said.
"In importer countries, of course, it will have economic consequences and mainly the vulnerable countries, they will feel it. What we say in the United Nations [is] that if a household has energy costs higher than 10% of family income, it will lead to energy poverty. And I know that some of the EU countries are already talking about how to support those families," Algayerova told Sputnik on the sidelines of the Russian Energy Week, held in Moscow.
Apart from the imbalance between supply and demand, the problem also lies with Europe’s storage capacity and the new carbon price, the UN official noted, referring to the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). Under the ETS, European energy companies, manufacturers and airlines must pay for each tonne of carbon dioxide emissions they generate as part of the effort to combat climate change.
Gas prices have surged to a record high this fall, spurred by growing energy demand and limited supply as economies recover from the COVID-19 upset. With the winter season approaching, the European Union has been struggling to fill its gas reserves as member states rely on imports for much of their gas supply. European Commission spokeswoman Dana Spinant announced last week that the bloc is considering offsetting price increases for Europe's most vulnerable households.