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The Unpaid Utilities Conundrum

The Unpaid Utilities Conundrum

Improving the living conditions of its people and fighting poverty and social exclusion is a central part of European Union policies. Nevertheless, there are still households in the EU that have difficulties in making ends meet. In 2018, according to data released by Eurostat, almost 7% of households had been unable to pay utility bills (heating, electricity, gas, water, etc.) on time, due to financial difficulties. However, this share has fallen steadily in the EU as a whole, from over 10% of households in 2013.

Among households, in particular those with dependent children faced difficulties in paying utility bills on time. In the EU, just below 14% of households consisting of a single adult with dependent children faced such difficulties in 2018, compared to less than 3% of households consisting of two adults (with at least one of them 65 years or older). Among households with two or three adults and dependent children, this share was around 11%.

In 2018, more than a third of households in Greece (36%) had experienced problems paying their utility bills on time during the last 12 months, with many households facing such problems also in Bulgaria (30%). For Cyprus, approximately one in ten households had issues with paying their utility bills (12.2%). In contrast, few households had been unable to pay their utility bills on time in the Netherlands, Czechia, Sweden and Austria (all around 2%).

These data were collected as part of the annual EU survey on income and living conditions (EU-SILC). For more information on the statistics available in this area, take a look at the overview accessible here.

 

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