Energy poverty has been defined as a condition in which households are unable to access socially- and materially-necessitated levels of domestic energy services (Bouzarovski and Petrova, 2015). With tens of millions of EU citizens experiencing various forms of domestic energy deprivation, current research is exploring its links with present poverty and social exclusion levels in Member States, the liberalisation of energy markets, the post-2008 crisis and the energy transition to a low-carbon economy.

Being a growing societal concern as much as a field of research and policy action, the significance of energy poverty needs to be assessed in the wider frame of climate change mitigation and of the transition to a low-carbon energy system.

Based on own research carried as PhD candidate at Central European University, and as research associate of the University of Manchester and of RMIT Europe, Sergio’s presentation intends to critically summarise the outcomes of his ongoing engagement with the topic.

With this aim, the presentation first introduces the notion of energy (or fuel) poverty and vulnerability as overarching theoretical frameworks.

Key results of a multi-year, multi-scalar empirical investigation of trends in domestic energy deprivation in the EU are then presented, with a focus on the countries of Southern and Central and Eastern Europe.

Sergio’s paper introduces Hungary and Spain as case studies that allow for an exploration of fundamental drivers of energy poverty, such as path-dependent inefficiencies in the energy performance of residential buildings and the functioning of domestic energy supply.

He also examines the Barcelona-based Alianza contra la Pobreza Energética (Alliance against Energy Poverty), a unique grassroots, citizen-led initiative in the EU. This organisation is supporting households in risk of forced disconnection from utility networks, raising awareness, giving voice to vulnerable households, and providing a platform for citizens to become politically engaged around issues of domestic energy affordability and the transition to a fair and sustainable energy system.

Image by Sergi Pujolar, via Flickr, licenced under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic


RMIT University, City campus – Building 11, Level 2, Room 7 (Boardroom)


Wednesday 25 May, 3pm to 4pm