Member States should declare a moratorium on winter heating disconnections so no household can be cut off from energy in the cold.
That’s according to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), who are calling for more support for fuel poor homes as well as further investment in energy efficiency projects to reduce bills.
A non-binding resolution was passed by 310 votes to 73, with 26 abstentions.
The MEPs believe the EU is getting “further away” from its 2020 goal of bringing at least 20 million people out of poverty in the next four years.
They add energy efficiency rules and energy performance of buildings are not being used to their full potential, especially when plans to renovate badly built social housing projects are not carried out.
They are therefore calling on the European Commission to seek ways to strengthen the legislation so Member States are encouraged to include social aims in their energy efficiency schemes.
According to EU statistics, 10% of citizens had outstanding debt on utility bills last year, 12% were unable to keep their homes warm in 2014 while 16% of the population were living in homes with leaking roofs and damp walls during the same period.
Rapporteur Tamás Meszerics, part of the The Greens–European Free Alliance, Hungary said: “Energy should be considered an essential commodity as our society is becoming ever more dependent upon it. Proper heating, lighting, cooking, warm water are needed for most basic activities and I also strongly believe that winter heating disconnection moratorium, if adopted by all EU Member States, will reduce the deaths and severe health consequences of cold homes during winter time.”
A report from the UK’s National Audit Office found the government’s energy efficiency scheme, which cost taxpayers £240 million, has forced up people’s bills without any additional energy savings.