“There’s nothing left to live on,” says Katerina Nykonyvna after paying monthly energy bills of 1 780 hryvnia. As her pension is just 1 902 hryvnia, it’s a straightforward fact. COLD AT HOME, a web documentary launched this week takes viewers to Ukraine, where the entire population is facing its first winter after gas prices increased by 280% on 1 April 2015.
While Ukraine is an extreme case, experts estimate that more than 100 million households across Europe and North America are in a situation where energy bills account for more than 10% of household budgets. This forces them to make difficult choices about spending and has significant negative impacts on health and well-being.
The web documentary is the ‘front page’ of COLD@HOME, a multimedia project investigating the growing phenomena of ‘fuel poverty’ – what it is, what causes it and, importantly, who can do what about it. Over the next 12 weeks, the project will use parallel blogs (Inside) to explain basic concepts and provide expert insights. An Energy Diary gives those living in fuel poverty a chance to tell their own stories, while an area called Act Now (under development) will highlight ways to reduce energy consumption, access available help or help those in need.
Produced by The Energy Action Project (EnAct), COLD@HOME is a new model for energy reporting, with experts and reporters collaborating to help unravel a complex social challenge. EnAct’s long-term aim, reflected in the tagline Reporting that seeks to empower, is to make the media an active participant in efforts to ensure that every person on the planet has access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.
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EiD would like to thank Marilyn Smith for this contribution.