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The Governance of Energy Poverty in Southeastern Europe

The Governance of Energy Poverty in Southeastern Europe

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: IFRI on Apr 15, 2011
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04/15/2011

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 ______________________________________________________________________ 
 
The Governance of Energy Povertyin Southeastern Europe
 ______________________________________________________________________ 
Stefan BouzarovskiRobert SarlamanovSaska Petrova
March 2011
.
NNootteeddeell
IIffrrii 
South-East EuropeProgramme
 
 
The Institut français des relations internationals (Ifri) is a research center anda forum for debate on major international political and economic issues.Headed by Thierry de Montbrial since its founding in 1979, Ifri is a non-governmental and a non-profit organization.As an independent think tank, Ifri sets its own research agenda, publishing itsfindings regularly for a global audience.Using an interdisciplinary approach, Ifri brings together political and economicdecision-makers, researchers and internationally renowned experts to animateits debate and research activities.With offices in Paris and Brussels, Ifri stands out as one of the rare Frenchthink tanks to have positioned itself at the very heart of European debate.
The opinions expressed in this text are the responsibility of the authors alone 
.
 
This publication is based on work sponsoredby the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation.
ISBN: 978-2-86592-846-0 © All rights reserved, Ifri, 2011
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EBSITE
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1 © Ifri
Summary
 
This report presents the outcomes of a recently-completed researchproject
1
aimed at uncovering the different ways in which energypoverty
 –
understood as a condition wherein the domestic energyservices available to a household are below socially and materially-necessitated levels
 –
is produced by, and mitigated through, theinteraction of relevant decision-making institutions in the energy,social welfare, health and housing domains. The project focused onconditions in Southeastern Europe, where energy prices have beenrecently on the rise despite falling incomes and poor access toefficient and adequate energy services. We explored the legalframeworks and governance practices that underpin energy poverty-related policies the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria: twoneighboring countries at different development stages in terms of the
state‟s regulatory capacity to support households vulnerable to
energy deprivation. Data was gathered and analyzed with the aid ofinterviews with decision-makers, as well as a review of written legaland policy documents. The broad-level patterns of energy poverty inboth countries were established with the aid of analyses of publishedstatistical data, and findings from the secondary literature.The findings of the study revealed that both states havemoved from a reactive policy regime - entailing a slow process ofenergy liberalization and privatization due to social welfare concerns,gradual energy price increases, and the inadequate development oftargeted social welfare programs
 –
towards a more proactiveapproach, which has involved the strengthening and expansion ofsocial safety nets, accompanied by the introduction of comprehensivemeasures such as block tariffs and direct earmarked support. Eventhough the shift from one regime to the other has taken place at amuch faster and stronger pace in Bulgaria, both states still lacktargeted residential energy efficiency programs for vulnerablehouseholds, and the flow of knowledge and expertise towards andamong state institutions remains narrow and untransparent. In theRepublic of Macedonia and Bulgaria alike, the state has found itdifficult to determine which households need energy poverty-relatedsocial support, and to what extent. State housing policy remains
1
 
1
The research project that led to the paper was financed by the French Institute forInternational Relations
 –
Brussels, with support from the Latsis Foundation.Additional financing was provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of
the Czech Republic, project no. MSM0021620831: „Geographic Systems and Risk
Processes in the Context of
Global Change and European Integration‟.
 

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