From Fuel Poverty to Energy Vulnerability: The Importance of Services, Needs and Practices.
32 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2016
Date Written: December 4, 2014
This paper charts the emergent body of new approaches towards the research and amelioration of energy deprivation in the home. It starts from the premise that all forms of energy and fuel poverty – in developed and developing countries alike – are underpinned by a common condition: the inability to attain a socially- and materially-necessitated level of domestic energy services. Emphasizing the functionings and capabilities provided by energy use in the residential domain has led us to question binary divisions between the fields of ‘fuel poverty’ and ‘energy poverty’ within, respectively, the global North and South. In order to move towards an integrated understanding of energy service poverty, we rely on ‘systems of provision’ paradigms to highlight the multiple socio-technical pathways that prevent the effective fulfilment of household energy needs. Based on such approaches, the paper identifies the main components and implications of ‘energy vulnerability’ frameworks, whereby the driving forces of domestic energy deprivation are seen through a dynamic heuristic predicated upon issues of resilience and risk. Using recent developments in Hungary as an example, we employ energy vulnerability thinking to illustrate the systemic driving forces and implications of domestic energy deprivation.
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