Prepayment meters are often associated with energy poverty. In countries like the UK, Australia, Germany or Austria they are offered as an alternative billing method to vulnerable consumers with a record of unpaid bills and indebtedness. In Hungary, recent years have seen a surge of prepayment meters among households irregularly connected to the electricity grid or indebted to providers, especially in segregated areas where many poor Roma live. The research intends to generate policy-relevant knowledge on the everyday life impacts and ethnic dimensions of prepayment meters taking Hungary as a case study. It will make use of a unique qualitative dataset of transcripts from 34 interviews conducted among Hungarian households and stakeholders in the winter of 2020.
‘I am deeply honoured to be the recipient of an FPRN EPEC grant. It provides much appreciated support to my research on precarious access to energy and supply disconnections through a Hungarian case study – a country where the impact of prepayment meters on the life of energy poor Roma households is in much need of attention. At a time of global crisis and rising inequalities, the grant also underlines access to energy as a critical well-being issue’