Energy Poverty in the COVID-19 Era: Mapping Global Responses to the Pandemic in Light of Momentum for the Right to Energy

Marlies Hesselman*, Anaïs Varo, Rachel Guyet, Harriet Thomson

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

9 Citaten (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents the results of the COVID Energy Map, a novel, global mapping exercise tracking global emergency responses undertaken by governments, regulators, utilities and companies in Global North and South, to mitigate energy vulnerability by keeping energy affordable and available. The map constitutes a comprehensive open access evidence-based database, so far collating over 380+ emergency measures, in over 120+ countries. This paper particularly shows and discusses how responses have been developing since March 2020, highlighting emerging longer-term concerns and strategies across Global North and South. In our view, the responses merit close attention as they reveal both the universal importance of household energy services access, and important underlying existing narratives and policy-making questions about energy as a vital basic need, service, or even a ‘basic right’. In fact, the paper additionally examines whether and how COVID-19 responses seem to fall in step with a nascent global trend of (legal) recognition of ‘rights to energy’ in international, regional and national policy. The paper set outs this trend, and concludes that while COVID-19 responses clearly reflect a broad recognition of affordable, continuous energy services access as vital for basic human well-being and capabilities, a right to energy perspective additionally lays bare and gives shape to important concerns about: too minimal (insufficient) forms of modern energy access for some households, the non-inclusive and inequitable targetting of some measures, e.g. towards on-grid, off-grid, renewable, pre paid, or specific vulnerable consumers, and the role of the state and other actors, including energy companies.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1-11
Aantal pagina's11
TijdschriftEnergy Research & Social Science
StatusPublished - 2021

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