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Energy poor or fuel poor: What are the differences?


Energy poverty and fuel poverty are descriptors of problems of households' energy consumption, they are both distinct problems and have been addressed by many researchers, organizations and governments. Cross use of the terms of energy poverty and fuel poverty in published papers is common. As an accurate descriptor is the presupposition of research and policy development, especially for those who just started to pay attention to this issue, this paper compares the definitions, research priorities, status quo, and problems of these two concepts, and summarizes the relationship between them. The paper suggests that only when the research targets are households who are living in a cold climate and have difficulty in getting access to electricity or modern cooking facilities, and in supplying indoor heating with appropriate cost, the concepts of energy poverty and fuel poverty have the chance to be broadened and mutually integrated.