Energy poverty hits Macedonia hard

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The latest edition of Beyond Transition: the Newsletter about Reforming Economies has a great set of articles about energy issues in transition countries. A former Russian Deputy Minister of Energy talks about why the state should leave the energy sector, and another piece discusses why some private domestic firms in Ukraine and China seem to be outperforming their foreign competitors.

Stefan Buzar reports that “A significant number of households in Macedonia and, to a lesser extent, the Czech Republic, may be living in energy poverty, an emergent form of domestic energy deprivation in the post-Soviet world.” In Macedonia, close to 70% burn biomass (wood) to heat their homes.

Former Soviet states are vulnerable to energy poverty because, well, it gets pretty cold there. More than that, rising energy prices, underinvestment in the sector and poorly managed privatizations force low-income households to choose between spending a huge chunk of income on heat or living in bitterly cold homes.

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