The notion of fuel poverty, or pobreza energética, is mostly unknown to the general and specialized publics in Spain. As in many other EU countries, domestic energy affordability concerns are implicit in recurrent public debates like the ones revolving around the increase of energy prices.  But there is no official definition or estimates based on households’ needs to spend on energy (like in the UK), and only very recently has the concept started to become somewhat meaningful for the general public. It is thus absent from the policy and academic literature, which means that fuel poverty  is to a large extent alien to decision-makers and scholars, and therefore not addressed in its own terms but rather diffusely through social and perhaps energy and  climate policies.

There is, however, a noteworthy exception in the recent past:  the EU-sponsored EPEE (European fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency) project of the Intelligent Europe Programme, which in the late 2000s produced the first indicators on the extent and characteristics of fuel poverty in Spain EU based on the results of the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU SILC). This project produced several cross-country comparative studies for 5 EU Member States (Belgium, Italy, France, Spain and the UK) and came up with country-specific recommendations, which in the case of Spain ranged from proposing social tariffs and winter fuel payments to putting together an experts’ group on fuel poverty and launching a fuel poverty monitoring center. The Spanish partner of the EPEE project was the Catalonian NGO Ecoserveis.

 

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