Skip to main content
Energy Poverty Advisory Hub
News article28 February 2023Directorate-General for Energy3 min read

Diagnosing energy poverty: practical experiences from 2 municipalities under EPAH technical assistance

Addressing energy poverty requires a robust diagnosis that provides the most complete possible picture of energy poverty situation. The diagnosis is an essential phase that allows local governments to understand in detail what are the specific challenges related to the local context, the different areas and the most vulnerable groups among the population that are affected by energy poverty. This is the first phase of the circular model to tackle energy poverty developed in the EPAH Handbooks.

During the first EPAH call for technical assistance, many of the awarded municipalities requested support aiming to develop a clear and robust energy poverty diagnosis. The city of Zagreb with the support of the Croatian Society for Sustainable Development Design (DOOR) is developing the diagnosis of energy poverty and aims to launch the Energy Poverty Mitigation Programme.

The focus of the activities is on data collection. According to DOOR the aim is “to map the intensity and prevalence of energy poverty of households in the city”.  

Collecting data is one of the main challenges regarding energy poverty diagnosis. We asked DOOR, how they approach the data collection. “We designed and conducted a quantitative research on energy consumption, practices and energy characteristics of households. Quantitative methodology combined a representative sample structure, based on housing characteristics of city districts, with face-to-face computer-assisted personal interviewing, with an online implementation of the designed survey via panel sampling. The data from 388 households were collected during the months of September and October 2022 in all 17 districts of the City of Zagreb.

The questionnaire collected data on the conditions and quality of housing and certain characteristics of the residential building of respondents, various aspects of household energy consumption, attitudes, opinions, and behaviours related to health and general socio-economic information about the household. The purpose of the research is to contribute to better understanding of energy poverty in the administrative area of the City of Zagreb, and thus to a better creation of the city's Programme for alleviating energy poverty.’’.

Further south in Europe, a Greek municipality has also initiated a similar process starting by mapping the relevant stakeholders. ‘’With an approximate population of 50.000 citizens (according to the 2021 census) and a multi-diverse citizens’ educational, occupational, and income background, energy poverty diagnosis for Ampelokipi-Menemeni municipality is a challenge” comments Initialising Energy Balance Towards Zero (INZEB), the organisation that supports the Greek municipality of Ampelokipi-Menemeni in their energy poverty diagnosis attempt.

In order to obtain a thorough depiction of the situation, INZEB developed several activities in collaboration with the municipal departments. “A stakeholders’ identification and mapping process took place with the support of the social and technical divisions of the municipality. Energy poverty diagnosis at a local level requires a holistic approach, thus the support of local actors is required to properly manage the process. A field survey is currently active, aiming to collect 500 responses the results of which will set up the basis for the co-creation of an action plan enabling the municipality to act in a targeted manner and address the phenomenon and its impacts on the citizens’.

With this mapping and survey activities, the municipal staff outlined that “the technical assistance provided to the municipality is an important stepping stone to better understand the situation at the local level and identify the main factors that increase the energy poverty and the ways citizens are affected’’. The overall objective, highlighted by the municipality, is ‘’to set up a future-proof sustainable action plan to minimise the energy poverty levels in our municipality.’’

The two testimonies of the cities and the expert show the importance of the diagnosis in the process of tackling energy poverty. The data collected by the surveys, but also by mapping activities and others, allow to better understand the local levels of energy poverty and help cities and their network determine appropriate actions and measures through a bottom-up approach.

Ampelokipi and Zagreb are two examples among others cities acting on energy poverty. Discover more projects from the awarded cities of the first call, but also by checking the EPAH ATLAS which records many projects that you can filter by energy poverty phases.

If you wish to receive tailored support to tackle energy poverty, EPAH is launcing its second call for technical assistance on 1st March. Do not miss the opportunity to apply.


Publication date
28 February 2023
Directorate-General for Energy