ESRI Research Bulletin

Are fuel poverty metrics fit for purpose? Evidence from Ireland

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June 2, 2022
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Energy is an essential good, and so the ability to afford sufficient fuel and energy is of concern to policy makers. Consistent and reliable methods of identifying households that cannot afford sufficient energy are therefore critically important. Despite a large literature on the topic, there are multiple definitions of fuel poverty and there can be considerable differences in which households are designated as “fuel poor” under each metric. Some metrics are based on the income of the household, others on the expenditure of the household on energy, and others use both.

This research has several aims. The first is to identify which households are classified as fuel poor under these different metrics, and to compare them to a new metric known as “multidimensional poverty”. This new metric identifies households that experience deprivation across several dimensions including living in dwellings with low energy efficiency levels. The second research aim is to explore how fuel poverty differs under changes in carbon taxation.