Energy Poverty Rate
A household is said to be in energy poverty when it spends more than 10% of its after-tax income on energy to heat and power the home and fuel for transportation (electricity, fuel oil, propane, firewood, etc.).
Why This Matters
Energy poverty has been on the Town of Bridgewater’s radar for the last decade based on knowledge that prices for energy are increasing, Bridgewater’s aging housing stock is inefficient to heat, and that as a rural community, there is a lack of access to affordable, accessible transportation. Energy poverty can severely impact an individual’s quality of life including:
- Discomfort from living in cold and drafty homes.
- Disruptions from abrupt utility shutoffs, such as inability to cook and spoiled food.
- Sacrificing other essentials such as groceries and medication in order to keep up with energy bills.
- Increased incidence of respiratory illness in children and infants
- Higher stress and poor mental health outcomes for adults.
- Difficulty participating fully in community life.
The Town is working to reduce energy poverty in Bridgewater through its Energy Poverty Reduction Program.
Measurement and Limitations
Energy poverty can be understood using expenditure-based metrics, subjective measures, and other
indicators related to housing quality or household energy use. Income based measures such as 10% of after-tax income, are effective at showing how much of a household’s income is pent on energy. Income is just one way to measure energy poverty. Energy poverty can also be measured using subjective measures, which may include asking individuals to self-identify as living in energy poverty based on access to energy, affordable energy, or thermal comfort.
Bi-annual community-wide survey distributed by the Town of Bridgewater.
Visit bridgewater.ca/smartcities or energizebridgewater.ca to learn more about Bridgewater’s Energy Poverty Reduction program.
Energy Poverty Rate in the Sustainable Development Goals
Click on the SDG to reveal more information
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount, plus many people risk slipping back into poverty.
Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development. Significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers associated with child and maternal mortality. Major progress has been made on increasing access to clean water and sanitation, reducing malaria, tuberculosis, polio and the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, many more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues.
7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to energy for all is essential.
Sustainable energy is opportunity – it transforms lives, economies and the planet.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is leading a Sustainable Energy for All initiative to ensure universal access to modern energy services, improve efficiency and increase use of renewable sources.
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Investments in infrastructure – transport, irrigation, energy and information and communication technology – are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries. It has long been recognized that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in health and education outcomes require investment in infrastructure.
Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the primary source of income generation, allows for rapid and sustained increases in living standards for all people, and provides the technological solutions to environmentally sound industrialization.
Technological progress is the foundation of efforts to achieve environmental objectives, such as increased resource and energy-efficiency. Without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen.
11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Cities are hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity, social development and much more. At their best, cities have enabled people to advance socially and economically.
However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and declining infrastructure.
The challenges cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The future we want includes cities of opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.
13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.
People are experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, which include changing weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events. The greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are driving climate change and continue to rise. They are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century and is likely to surpass 3 degrees Celsius this century—with some areas of the world expected to warm even more. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.
Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. The pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts.
But climate change is a global challenge that does not respect national borders. Emissions anywhere affect people everywhere. It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level and it requires international cooperation to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy.
To address climate change, countries adopted the Paris Agreement at the COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. The Agreement entered into force shortly thereafter, on 4 November 2016. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius. You can learn more about the agreement here.
Implementation of the Paris Agreement is essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and provides a roadmap for climate actions that will reduce emissions and build climate resilience.
Information about how Bridgewater is achieving this SDG