The 6th EPAH lunch talk was about the identification of the actors involved in addressing energy poverty and understanding how to engage them and what is the optimal approach to act effectively against energy poverty. Three speakers provided great insights and concrete examples on the multi-actor approach and the challenges of stakeholders’ engagement.
The discussion started with Marine Cornelis, director of NextEnergy Consumer, presenting why the multi-approach is effective when it comes to energy poverty. She highlighted the dynamism of the phenomenon that impacts vulnerable consumers on various dimensions, that is difficult to comprehensively measure. She distinguished direct consequences, such as a home too hot or too cold, risks for domestic safety, economic debt, etc. from indirect consequences that are harder to measure, such as loneliness, depression, chronic sickness, homelessness, etc.
Then, the availability to capture energy poverty is spread across the different sectors, services and actors within a municipality. ‘’Each potential stakeholder holds relevant information on the risks related to vulnerability and/or energy poverty’’ underlined Marine Cornelis. Several stakeholders are developing tools to address the challenge from different levels and ways that are often not linked. In the ecosystem of energy poverty, we can identify the direct stakeholders, such as public authorities, energy suppliers, social services, NGOs and landlords, and indirect stakeholders like the construction sector, banks, justice system or health professionals. Each of these potential stakeholders can have a role to play, depending on the reality of the local context.
Francesca Gaburro from AESS (Modena Energy and Sustainable Development Agency) shared her experience as the accompanying expert of Modena municipality for the development of the UNIRE project: Urban Network Investing Resource for an Energy Community, under the EPAH technical assistance. The main topic of the project was the creation of a stakeholder network, to ensure long-term mitigation. The expert is working with RETE ASSIST project to propose to local stakeholders a training course, in order to ‘’empower all entities in Modena city who are engaged with this topic with knowledge’’, underlined Francesca Gaburro. Thematic and interactive sessions complete the engagement of the network and help to strengthen the connection between local stakeholders, who are NGOs and environmental associations, charities, a university, a bank, trade associations, energy provider, social services and other services of Modena city.
The moderator of the session, Marina Varesi, from EPAH (AISFOR) pointed out the difficulty to involve the social sector, particularly the engagement of the health professionals in the activities to tackle energy poverty. On this topic, Neil Penny, NHS Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire County Council Health and Social Care Commissioning Manager, shared some of the activities they are developing to address energy poverty through healthcare professionals. The objective is to ‘’get health and social care, doctors and social workers to understand how important for people it is to have a warm home’’. The Warmth Home Prescription, pilot project, was the opportunity to support people with health issues such as respiratory problems or asthma, with energy usage advice, insulation works and grants towards a boiler to improve the heating of the houses.
As a multifaceted challenge, energy poverty requires a comprehensive approach that is reachable when all the stakeholders are involved. The new EPAH publication is dedicated to explaining the diagnosis, an essential step for developing a local plan against energy poverty. You will find step-by-step guidance and activities for notably the identification and engagement of stakeholders.
- Publication date
- 17 March 2023
- Directorate-General for Energy