Energy justice, fuel poverty and vulnerable groups: a comparative analysis

Authors: Carolyn Snell*, The University of York
Topics: Energy, Disabilities
Keywords: Energy, justice, fuel poverty, disabled people, children, energy justice
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 41st Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Energy justice is an emerging field that has gained much attention over the past decade. It draws heavily on social and environmental justice theories, bringing together the concepts of ‘distributive’, ‘procedural’ and ‘recognition’ justice. It has gained a particular resonance amongst fuel poverty researchers as it provides a framework for analysing the negative impacts on various vulnerable groups. Looking beyond just distributional patterns enables critical reflection of the policy process, and the assumptions contained within it. Despite these developments there remain gaps in knowledge. Firstly, whilst there is a substantial evidence base around the extent and impact of fuel poverty, there is limited work on how patterns of fuel poverty have co-evolved with changes in policy (e.g. definitions and eligibility criteria) over time. Secondly, there is virtually no empirical work that considers how low-income families with children and disabled people are impacted by, and have influence over, different styles of policy and governance. This paper reports on findings from a two-year research project. Drawing on the energy justice literature, the paper investigates the development and impact of fuel poverty policies across the four nations of the UK. It also considers the extent to which disabled people and low-income families with children have been recognised and included in the policy process, and the impact that this had on policy outcomes.

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