Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Side to Energy Poverty

When someone speaks of energy poverty, does the mind automatically think of someone being without access to any sort of modern-day energy? (An example: having to sit outside under street lights in order to read a textbook during classroom hours.) Or does the mind think that this poverty is along the lines of having to spend so much income to upkeep the energy they have and being ‘broke’ because of it?

It has been reported that many energy companies are switching off households who are struggling to pay their power bills, and giving way to an increase of ‘energy poverty’. People are in spiraling debt and having to deal with such being in the dark and cold… in countries that have an access to modern energy unlike billions of others in places like Africa. They have to make difficult decisions on whether to choose a standard way of living over essential household items (such as food). 

This ‘new’ poverty crisis has caused many ill health and material and social deprivation – much like it does in countries that don’t have the luxury of choosing modern ways of living, energy wise. Though unlike these countries who have the access to modern energy, and are merely struggling to keep it, the countries without it are having to make due with more primitive means of energy.

Yes, families of low income houses are at risk for this new ‘form’ of energy poverty, since they spend a good majority of their income on paying their energy bills. This seems to pose the question of how exactly the term ‘energy poverty’ should be used: is it merely something that should be directed towards the lack of modern energy to billions of people in various countries? Or is it proper to use it to define people in general with a lack of access to energy (modern or not)? 

Is it worse to be in debt trying to keep the basic thing like heat and electricity, or is it worse to have to rely on candlelight or streetlights in order to do a simple task such as reading a book for school? 


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