Electricity as part of basic human rights

Human rights have been dictated to us since elementary school where many of us have read them every day with the class, but we have rarely associated them with the right to have electricity. So, we will analyze many concepts and issues starting from energy poverty, to see if the right to have electricity is part of the basic rights and where it lies between the right to citizens and the responsibility of government.

© Robert Shahini

“Energy poverty is the situation in which a family cannot access energy services at a level that can meet its social and material needs”1 (study). While, the factors that risk families to go into energy poverty are:

  • The increase of the price of electricity is higher compared to the increase in revenues
  • Inability to provide energy at a low price
  • Increasing household needs for energy
  • Lack of efficiency in energy use
  • Policy interventions2(study)

The conditions that predetermine whether or not we are in energy poverty are: energy efficiency in buildings, energy costs and household income. In other words, when a person / family is not able to provide the necessary energy in the apartment at an affordable price, we are dealing with an energy poverty.

When we talk about providing the necessary energy we are talking about the fulfillment of a number of basic rights such as: the right to a sufficient standard of living that corresponds to adequate health and lifeArticle 25  including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services; Everyone has the right to education Article 26, here it should be taken into account that the school education often can be online (case of pandemic) or accomplishment of tasks/homework by electronic means and internet.

According to the study conducted by EcoAlbania in 2018, in Tirana over 45% of surveyed households use electricity as the only way to cook, 69% of them use electricity to provide water to their homes by pumping, 68% use electricity to heat their home, 62% to cool it during the summer season and 95% of households use electricity to heat water. Cut to, in conditions of energy poverty, many families would not be able to meet these basic needs. In addition to what we talked about above, it is worth mentioning the fact that the needs of households for the use of energy are increasing more and more, the right to access information is ensured through having an electronic device, internet, television, etc. All of these constitute a wide range of rights secured by electricity. This right is very important even for United Nations governments.

In the goals of the United Nations for sustainable development launched as an action plan in 2015 to be realized by 2030, as the 7th objective is the provision of affordable and clean energy. Ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy access for all. Translated differently into 5 measuring components:

  • AVAILABLE to all, in sufficient quantity. 
  • ACCESSIBLE to all, implying four sub-components: geographically accessible, economically accessible, without discrimination, and having access to information.
  • ACCEPTABLE to all, meaning it supports a wide range of general needs (e.g., cultural, climatic, etc.) while also recognizing more specific physical needs (e.g., for pregnant women).  
  • Of sufficient QUALITY to all, meaning sufficiently reliable, safe, scientifically sound, etc.
  • SUSTAINABLE to all, increasingly this aspect is embedded.

One of the reasons why the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030 are a transformative development framework is that they are based on human rights4. Albania as a UN member is committed to the 2030 agenda with the support of UNDP to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

For the reasons listed above we can say that electricity is a basic right, which should be guaranteed to everyone, geographically and economically accessible. The study conducted in 2018 showed that 42% of households have difficulty paying their electricity bill 5. (study) While many mountainous areas during the winter period have power outages thus conditioning not only families but also tourism businesses. (Valbona case) So we say that Albania’s work to guarantee clean and sustainable electricity is still great and so steps must be taken. Specially to see alternative solutions to provide energy as it is through solar panels and not Hydropower.


Read more

Future policy makers discuss energy efficiency issues

EcoAlbania has launched a series of meetings on “Policies for Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance in Albania” with members of youth forums from the main parties in the country. On June 22th 2018, during the meeting organized by EcoAlbania in Tirana with the participation of young people from the Eurosocialist Youth Forum of Albania (FRESSH), representatives of EcoAlbania, EDEN Center and Mr. Erjon Tase from the Academy of Political Studies discussed legislation and policies of energy efficiency and performance, as well as the actual problems with regard to their implementation.

During the meeting with FRESSh members © V.Kabili

During the meeting with FRESSh members
© V.Kabili

This meeting was held as a continuation to the public education campaign on energy issues in our country. The members of the forum were first introduced to the Environmental Watchdog Network, its working area, “Together – An eye for the environment” project, as well as some key findings of the study on energy poverty in Tirana.

The conducted research on energy poverty situation in five Albanian cities drew attention among participants. Methodology used, target groups, data collection and processing were details on which they were further informed. In addition, this group of youngsters expressed their interest on topics such as diversification of energy production sources, creation of new infrastructure for sustainable production, as well as concrete possibilities Albania offers for solar and wind energy production.

E. Tase, Executive Director of Academy of Political Studies presenting the problems of legislation enforcement  © V.Kabili

E. Tase, Executive Director of Academy of Political Studies talking on issues of legislation enforcement © V.Kabili

The expert E. Tase explained the possibilities of economic development related to law implementation and measures on energy efficiency. “The diversification of energy resources is on one hand the basis for economic development by keeping prices under control and lowering costs for the consumer, and, on the other hand, by reducing negative impact on the environment in terms of gases emission and the deterioration that energy production through hydropower plants only brings along.”– he said. Mr. Tase emphasized the problems and delays in the implementation of the relevant legislation for energy efficiency and performance.

The importance of existing legislation, its enforcement, improvement of policies related to energy and environmental matters, inclusion in the Socialist Party program of these topics, as well as their commitment as future policymakers to make it possible, were some key moments in the discussion which followed.

In the frame of the education campaign with future policymakers, EcoAlbania will conduct meetings with youngsters of the Youth Movement for Integration (LRI) and the Youth Democratic Party Forum (FRPD) to discuss relevant legislation, the need for its improvement, as well as incorporation of environmental and energy issues in their Party programs for the upcoming elections.

This activity was organized by EcoAlbania within the framework of the “Together – an eye for the environment” project and is financially supported from the Swedish Embassy on behalf of the SENiOR-II program implemented by Regional Environmental Centre – REC Albania.

Read more

New initiatives for energy efficiency in Tirana

Roundtable discussion with representatives from Tirana Municipality, Municipal Council and experts.

A meeting with representatives of Tirana Municipality, Municipal Council and experts on energy efficiency in Tirana was held on December 1st, 2017. The participants were introduced to some of the data from the study conducted by EcoAlbania and EDEN Center on “energy poverty” and energy performance in Tirana. They discussed on the different ways of interpretation the collected data, as well as on the concrete steps that should be taken in addressing the problems.



During the opening of the discussions. Foto: B. Guri/EcoAlbania

The Municipal Council representatives expressed their interest on the detailed information of the study, as well as their commitment to propose policies for the facilitation of taxes for the constructors that will bring energy efficient buildings in the market. They also proposed to present the problematic evidenced from the study and afterwards opening the discussion with Tirana Municipality towards the improvement of the situation.

Mr. Gjergji Simaku, Director of the Department of Policies, Energy & Industry Development Strategy, at the Ministry of Energy and Industry, explained some of the steps that the central government will pursue in order to achieve the standards for energy efficiency in the sectors of construction and transportation. He emphasized the creation of the “Agency for Energy Efficiency”, a new structure of the ministry. The first generation of energy auditors is foreseen to be certified soon. The central government plans the creation of a national register for energy efficiency of constructions. “After the audit of all buildings, these will be provided with the energy certificate and will be listed in the register.” – said Mr. Simaku.


Tryeza e diskutimit me temë “Efiçenca energjetike në qytetin e Tiranës” me përfaqësues të Bashkisë Tiranë, Këshillit Bashkiak, si dhe ekspertë të fushës. Foto: B.Guri/EcoAlbania

Foto: B.Guri/EcoAlbania

On the other hand, Mr. Erjon Tase, Executive Director of the Academy of Political Studies, stopped on the problematic and difficulties of this process. “Funding, delays in the coordination and implementation of national plans, delays in the coordination for the foreign investments utilization and the lack of experts are some of the difficulties that Albania faces in fulfilling national objectives on energy efficiency.” – he said.

Mr. Abaz Hado, Deputy Mayor of Tirana, shared with the participants’ actions undertaken from the Municipality for lightening all of Tirana’s territory with LED efficient lights, as well as the initiative for public transportation with electric city-buses and taxies.

This activity was organized by EcoAlbania in the frame of “Together – an eye for the environment” project and is financially supported from the Swedish Embassy on within the SENiOR-II program implemented by Regional Environmental Centre – REC Albania.


Read more