Improvement of legal framework didn’t lead to attenuation of energy poverty, study

The legal framework in the energy sector was improved in 2016-2018, but this didn’t determine progress in attenuating energy poverty, says a study entitled “Energy poverty in Moldova: social assistance versus technical capacity” that was carried out by the Independent Think Tank “Expert Grup”, IPN reports.

According to the study, the recently adopted legislation laid emphasis on the liberalization of the energy sector, corrections and balancing of positions of different sides interested in the market and stimulation of energy efficiency measures. The implementation of the community acquis in a move to harmonize the national legislation with the legislation of the EU and the Energy Community created conditions for the functioning of the regulatory framework and for a more sustainable development of energy infrastructure.

Also, the made changes referred to the rehabilitation of the functioning of the interconnected sub-sectors. It was projected that the self-regulatory capacities of the market would generate particular benefits for operators, political stability for decision makers and the regulatory authority and guarantees as regards the supply of energy to consumers.

However, even if the legislation contains such notions as “vulnerable consumer”, it does not provide plausible solutions that would solve the problem of energy poverty that affects large sections of the population. Perceived as a situation when households or a person do not afford adequate heating or other basic energy services in their homes at accessible prices, energy poverty has connections with a number of interdependent elements.

First of all, the low revenues of persons or households undermine their financial capacity to obtain benefits related to energy consumption. Secondly, this type of poverty results from frequent episodes of politicization of the tariff policy by the market regulatory authority, which diminishes the predictability and sustainability of energy prices. Thirdly, energy poverty includes inadequate energy efficiency in maintaining the livelihood. “Most of these aspects are mainly overlooked in the legislation and the national public policies in the energy sector,” says the study.

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