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Abstract

The main aim of this article is to present the results of research on energy poverty conducted in Katowice and Bytom, two cities situated in the Silesian voivodeship [region] in Poland. The study attempted to verify whether the energy divide concept elaborated by Bouzarovski and Tirado Herrero (2015) has different undiscovered dimensions which result not only from the differences in energy prices and incomes between various regions, but also from other factors such as consumer behaviours. In discussions about the energy divide, this aspect of energy poverty has so far been rather neglected. The question remains whether the distinction between energy poverty levels of countries, regions, and other territories like cities is determined by consumer behaviours or only by income and energy prices. Katowice and Bytom seem to be perfect places to conduct such. The most important conclusions emerging from the presented research are: (a) low income does not affect the behaviour of people suffering from energy poverty, even though it theoretically should; (b) despite their difficult financial situation, low-income households do little to improve their situation; and (c) public policy should take into account in the spatial distribution of households affected by energy poverty other aspects, including non-income and behavioural factors and patterns of persons affected by energy poverty, which only deepen existing social inequalities rather than reduce them.
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