COLD@HOME is an initiative of The Energy Action Project (EnAct), an ongoing investigation of all types of energy poverty.
Marilyn Smith is Executive Director of The Energy Action Project.
“There’s nothing left to live on,” says Katerina Nykonyvna as she leaves the town hall in Bobritsya, Ukraine, where she handed over $68 of her $75 pension to pay her monthly gas and electricity bills.
On the way home, Katerina crosses herself in front of the Orthodox church and explains that she no longer goes in, even on Sunday mornings. “I can’t afford a candle to say prayer.”
Increasingly, governments in Europe and North America recognize that a growing number of families face difficult decisions every day once winter sets in, such as whether to heat or eat. Most consider that anyone spending more than ten percent of available income on household energy lives in a state of fuel poverty or energy poverty.
Cold at Home, a short documentary film, depicts how Katerina, her son Stephan and her granddaughter Maria cope with having been picked up by the perfect storm and dropped into an extreme situation. The ongoing war in Donetsk cost Stephan his job and forced them to live year-round in Katerina’s summer dacha near Kiev.
Meanwhile, to secure a desperately needed loan from the International Monetary Fund, the Ukraine government agreed to cut longstanding gas subsidies.