When you have difficulty paying your electricity bill, should you rely on the government or the European Union?

When you have difficulty paying your electricity bill, should you rely on the government or the European Union?

(This issue First published in Everythingwhich ABC Nyheter cooperates with).

In 2026, the European Union will start a huge investment in energy saving: the EU Social Climate Fund.

People in energy poverty and those suffering from high energy costs will receive money from the fund, which amounts to around €86 billion or SEK 989 billion. According to the EU, the fund comes on top of the money that individual countries spend on energy savings and increased energy production in housing and buildings.

Practical measures such as new windows, better insulation, heat pumps and solar panels on the roof. Such measures – which many homeowners cannot afford – will become more common in the coming years as Norway implements the EU’s new Building Energy Directive.

Although Norway has agreed to partially finance the fund, the government does not yet intend to withdraw money from the fund.

Altinget.no It is the first purely political online newspaper in Norway. With 28 specialist media outlets in Denmark and 11 in Sweden, Altinget is already a well-established media house in the Nordic region. The aim is to increase understanding of national and European politics through high-quality specialist journalism – with an impartial starting point.

How has the EU Social Climate Fund become relevant in Norway? As of 2027, the government has found it in Norway’s interests for Norway to join the EU’s quota system for greenhouse gas emissions also in the shipping, transport and construction sectors. The European Commission has invited Norway to participate in the Climate Fund. According to Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vidom (in Energy and Climate 10.11.24.), Norway’s contribution is a quota that we only get if Norway participates in the expansion of quota trading in the EU. Norway contributes NOK 5.5 billion to the EU Social Climate Fund over eight years.

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“Solidarity work” for whom?

Although Norway has agreed to partially finance the fund, the government does not yet intend to withdraw money from the fund. the stranger. When state budgets are affected by health and defense and an increasing number of elderly people, EU fund money can be useful. Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide refers to the fund as an “act of solidarity” with the European Union. But shockingly – and unlike other European countries – the government does not want the EU fund to pay money to Norwegians struggling with their electricity bills. Norway gives, but we have nothing in return. When the government stands in solidarity with people living in the EU, is it worth doing more for the “energy poor” in Norway?

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The Danes and Swedes get EU money

Today, the government contributes approximately NOK 4 billion annually to ENØK in the field of housing and construction. Sentev states that it is necessary to save NOK 4 to 5 billion annually in support schemes, so that homeowners and the business community can also invest their own money. The goal of reducing residential electricity use by 10 terawatt-hours could become a reality in 2030. Until 2032, our neighbors Sweden are scheduled to receive 0.62 percent and Denmark 0.5 percent from the fund. When the fund is large, even a small percentage of it becomes money: Sweden can get NOK 6.1 billion, Denmark NOK 4.9 billion. What Norway can get is unknown, but if we compare it to neighboring countries, it is a workable amount.

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In other words, the fund should be as important in Norway as it is in our neighbouring countries and the rest of Europe, even though in Norway we “fire” clean, renewable electricity while others use gas and coal. Providing electricity to homes and buildings is absolutely essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in industry and transport.

“Energy poor” in Norwegian – “meat or heat”?

A common definition of energy poverty in the EU is when you have to choose between “heat or meat”. To date, there is no definition of “energy poverty” in Norwegian. We usually refer to the energy poor as low-income groups. In this country too, there are people suffering from electricity bills. People on low incomes usually live in old, poorly maintained housing, such as housing associations for the elderly. Much more is needed so that they can afford much-needed measures, such as new windows, better insulation, energy-efficient heat pumps, or rooftop solar cells. The investment cost is very high, even though everyone knows that it means lower electricity bills in the coming years. Here, the European Union's Social Climate Fund, and of course the Norwegian support plans, are crucial to reducing investment costs, so that investments can be directed to energy savings.

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“Practical approach” is urgent in practice.

“We have a pragmatic approach,” Vedom stresses when asked by Energi og klima whether it would be ironic for Norway to pay into the EU’s Social Climate Fund without getting the money back. Yes, let’s hope that the entire government quickly discovers what “pragmatic approach” means in practice. It would be very practical for Norway’s energy poor if the EU’s Social Climate Fund could help pay for much-needed energy provision. Now it is urgent for the government to show what pragmatic approach means in practice. If Norway’s energy poor are to receive money from the EU fund, the government must submit a social climate plan by 30 July 2025.

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The government must demonstrate strong political will, and the necessary detailed knowledge of housing and construction, so that the social climate plan can be well adapted to Norwegian needs. The NBBL – on behalf of housing associations and condominiums – calls for concrete measures and funds against “energy poverty”. we are ready. Is it the government?

(Voices is the discussion section of ABC Nyheter. Here regular and occasional contributors write about news-related topics. We also have a collaboration with the online political newspaper Altinget.no . If you are burning with an opinion or analysis, you can send the text to [email protected], and we will consider it).

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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