Notes from Energy Poverty Panel - Gökberk Bilgin

On February 26, 2020, Bilkent EPRC hosted a panel on Energy Poverty Panel and Literature Review. Our guest speakers were President of GAZBİR, Yaşar Arslan, Tamer Emre from Aksa Enerji, and Barış Sanlı and Erinç Yeldan from Bilkent EPRC.

The event began with the presentation of Tamer Emre. In the first part of the discussion, Emre explained the evolution of the energy poverty concept by providing examples from the literature. He discussed how the definition of energy poverty shaped.

In the second part of the presentation, Tamer Emre introduced a study conducted by PwC on energy losses and illegal usages of energy. The study focused on whether there is a regional difference exist or not on illegal usages and if it exists whether they can build a mechanism to overcome the problem.

Tamer Emre suggested that the main problem with these studies is collecting valid data on the given region because people who conduct illegal activities are reluctant to share their information with the researchers.

To overcome this problem, Tamer Emre and his colleagues focused on the total consumption of the region. One of the most important results of the study showed that people who lived in poverty only consumed electricity they need and did not abuse the system. From this point of view, the authors indicated that if we can provide an effective mechanism for these people, illegal usages may decline.

Yaşar Arslan began his speech by addressing the different types of energy poverty, which are not accessing energy at all, insufficient access to energy, and being unable to access the energy that is provided. Arslan also focused on sociological issues. Yaşar Arslan claimed that in the 21st century, consumption behaviors of the society has changed. With the increasing usages of electronic devices, our overall consumption increased considerably compared to the 20th century.

Furthermore, Yaşar Arslan indicated that 80% of the natural gas consumers paid their bills on time, 15% of the consumers paid with the second warning, and 4,5% of the consumers paid the bills with the final warning while he was discussing on the incentive mechanisms.

Finally, Barış Sanlı discussed the public policy side of the issue. He claimed that in the older generations, being an efficient consumer was a motivation. At the same time, today, people more cared about luxury consumption by indicating that the average room temperature in Turkish houses is 25C, which is much higher than averages.

Barış Sanlı also discussed a government project that aimed to heat the schools in villages. By providing a warm environment, the government tried to help students enjoy their education and reduce dropout rates.

Overall, it was a very informative and joyful event. We thank our speakers for their contribution, and our guests for being with us You can also access Tamer Emre’s presentation on our website.

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