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Commission steps up efforts to tackle energy poverty and boost consumer protection

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Ahead of the winter, the Commission is reinforcing its action to protect energy consumers, in particular vulnerable ones. With the adoption of a new Recommendation on energy poverty, the Commission reinforces its commitment to ensure that the clean energy transition is fair and just for all.

The Recommendation sets out good practices for structural improvements that member states can take to address the root causes of energy poverty. Investments into structural measures to tackle the low energy performance of homes and appliances are also highlighted. Other measures include providing clear information on energy bills and energy-saving practices and encouraging citizens to join energy communities or shift towards renewable energy solutions. The Recommendation, which is accompanied by a detailed Staff Working Document, also provides suggestions for how the EU budget can be leveraged at national level.

Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson (pictured) has presented the Recommendation to stakeholders at an event on energy poverty. They also witnessed the signature of the stakeholders' renewed Joint Declaration on enhanced consumer protection for winter. This initiative, started in December 2022, rallies key stakeholders representing consumers, regulators, energy suppliers and distributors around common principles on payment difficulties and bill deferrals, and to ensure that none is disconnected from energy supply.

Commissioner Reynders said: “With the rise in energy prices last year, and the cost of living crisis, millions of consumers have struggled to make ends meet. While the situation has improved compared to last winter, the cost of living remains high and energy prices are still higher than before the crisis. Many consumers, and particularly those in vulnerable situations, are likely to face difficulties to keep their houses warm and pay their energy bills. We must continue doing everything possible to protect consumers in need.”

Commissioner Simson said: “Energy poverty is not a new phenomenon in the EU, nor is it related only to energy prices, but it was thrown into the spotlight in the past years with Russia's weaponisation of its energy supplies. It occurs across all Member States, and increases pressure on those who are already in vulnerable situations. We have acted to bring more stability to the energy market, and we are now moving beyond crisis measures to bring more long-term price predictability to consumers. Today's Recommendation focuses on long-term structural measures such as ensuring access to energy efficient housing and appliances as well as renewable energy, which will help empower all people to drive Europe's clean energy transition.”

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