Energy affordability and the benefits system in Italy
In this paper, we discuss a number of ways to define and measure the affordability of energy consumption, and we examine the emergence of energy poverty in Italy in the period from 1998 to 2011. The paper examines the eligibility criteria for claiming the benefits available to support energy consumption for vulnerable families and it identifies the potential beneficiaries. The study assesses the appropriateness of the eligibility criteria by comparing the population targeted by the policy with the population actually facing affordability problems. A simulation exercise, using the hypothetical scenario most likely to result in energy benefits being made available, shows that, regardless of the affordability index adopted, the provision of state energy benefits has little impact on fuel poverty.