This article investigates factors correlated with the suspension of electricity supply in German households because of utility arrears. Utility arrears and power cut-offs occur frequently in households which receive basic social security allowances (SGB II, SGB XII) or if there are other pre-existing arrears and debts. The probability of a power cut-off is particularly high for single households or if a person has a very low level of education. The results support the thesis that utility arrears and resulting power cut-offs overlap with standard problems of severe household indebtedness. Possible measures to mitigate the occurrence of utility arrears and the suspensions of electricity supply should not only focus on household income or expenditure on electricity, but should also take cognitive and psychological factors into account which are correlated with more general problems of severe household indebtedness.
Heindl, Peter and Verena Liessem (2017), Ursachen von Stromsperren in Privathaushalten: Empirische Ergebnisse aus der Allgemeinen Sozialberatung, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 17-061, Mannheim. Download