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    EU commissioner warns of rising fuel poverty in Europe: press


A September study showed that 2.7mn of the EU's working poor could not afford to heat their homes.

by: Joseph Murphy

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EU commissioner warns of rising fuel poverty in Europe: press

EU commissioner for labour Nicolas Schmit warned on October 17 that energy poverty in Europe could rise as prices increase, telling Germany's DPA news agency that there were already millions of people in the bloc that suffered from this and the number could keep growing.

The European Commission (EC) could help member states limit the impact of high prices on consumers, Schmit said, although it is primarily up to national governments to take the appropriate measures. The issue will be issued at an EU summit on October 22, he said.

A study by the European Trade Union Conference found in September that some 2.7mn people or 15% of the EU's working poor did not have enough money to heat their homes. Wholesale gas and power prices have surged in recent months amid a global energy supply crunch, and governments and regulators are having to pass some of that burden onto consumers.

The EC proposed on October 13 a "toolbox" of measures to help shield consumers and businesses from the price spike, including emergency income support for energy-poor consumers. As of 11:46 GMT, the November gas delivery contract at the Dutch TTF hub was trading at €99/MWh, up 5.7% from the previous day's close.