Skip to main content

Energy poverty in the context of international Law

London Centre of International Law Practice (LCILP) held its 3rd annual conference on Energy Arbitration and Dispute Resolution in the Middle East and Africa on the 6 March 2018. Energy Charter Secretariat energy efficiency expert, Sarah Keay-Bright, was an invited speaker for the panel discussion on “Energy poverty in energy rich countries: a driver of disputes?”. The Secretariat’s contribution set out the role of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) in helping Governments provide their citizens with access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy services. The central message emphasised the importance of the approach that a country adopts in developing its energy sector.  

Addressing energy poverty in resource-rich countries requires using revenues from exploitation of oil and gas to: 1) leverage private foreign investment for developing its domestic sustainable energy systems, while maximising benefits and minimising costs for the country’s whole economy and society; and 2) support the poorest people for their basic energy service needs, including targeted energy efficiency improvements. When properly implemented, the provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty – which promote open and competitive international energy markets, efficient market-based interventions, energy efficiency and system efficiency, technology transfer and access to finance - can go a long way to minimise total energy system costs and in mobilising investment in the country’s energy sector for the benefit of the country’s citizens, including those in energy poverty.

This year energy poverty is one of the priorities of the Romanian government who currently hold the Chairmanship of the Energy Charter Conference.