Energy poverty in Romania –drivers, effects and possible measures to reduce its effects and number of people affected
Nowadays, over 10% of the population of the European Union is facing energy poverty. Energy poverty is defined as the situation where a consumer cannot access energy services in his household up to a socially and materially necessitated level. Although Romania is characterized, according to official European statistics, by a high number of persons at risk of poverty or social exclusion – 40.3% in 2014 – as compared to the other Member States – 24,4% for EU27 – recent studies of the European Commission show that only 12.3% of Romanians were suffering in 2014 of energy poverty. Still energy poverty is considered by several national and international institutions a major problem in Romania, just like in the other “new” EU Member States. So we ask ourselves what is energy poverty and what are the drivers of energy poverty in Romania. This article aims to restrain the concept of energy poverty from the perspective of national and EU policies and regulations by reviewing the existing knowledge and critical approaches in this field. The study also aims to analyse Romania’s development linked to the development of national and EU policies, laws and regulations in order identify the appropriate measures to reduce energy poverty, with regard to its main drivers and effects. Furthermore, the paper explores possible policies that could be implemented to reduce the number of people affected by energy poverty, tailored on the specifics of the Romanian energy sector and Romania’s overall economy. Based on the findings, recommendations are drawn.