Energy precariousness: being cold or spending too much on heating
The law recognizes energy precariousness as the difficulty in having access to the energy needed to satisfy basic needs owing to lack of resources or to housing conditions. Whatever the cause, the household is forced to make choices: to heat its dwelling at the risk of running up unpaid bills, or to stop heating and suffer the consequences of cold on its health, dwelling, and social life. The data show that 3.8 million households in metropolitan France are spending more than 10% of their income on energy, while 3.5 million report cold homes. Low-income households are mainly exposed to cold, for they combine financial restrictions with energy-inefficient dwellings. A total of 621,000 households suffer from both types of precariousness.