To tackle energy poverty, local governments need to identify where it is located and how to deal with it. That is why the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub has organized a session on July 11th in Barcelona to share experiences.
It’s not easy for local entities to address energy poverty properly. A lot of municipalities and supra-municipalities do not have the data or the registers to do so. Diagnose the problem is no easy task. That is why EPAH, the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub, works to assists entities and organizations during the procces. How? With technical assistances made by experts.
On 2022, EPAH finalized the first round of technical assistances and is preparing the second round for this 2023. That is why is such an interesting moment to share experiences. It is the perfect time to talk about the lessons learned during the first call and to settle to objectives for the second one. To do so, the Associació Ecoserveis has hosted in Barcelona the EPAH event with municipalities, supra-municipalities, experts and people interested in developing a better scenario to identify and fight against energy poverty.
The conferences where moderated by experts Marta García París and Alba del Campo and hosted by experts such as:
- Ana Sanz, PhD and researcher at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
- Leire Díez, project manager in the Energy and People area of Ecodes.
- Núria Baeza, Head of Social Action and Corporate Social Responsibility at aeioLuz.
- Josep Babot from ESF.
- Andreu Camprubí from El Risell
- Manel Rivero from Intiam Ruai
- Laura Feijoo from Ecooo
What specific actions, tools, or support are crucial at the local level to effectively address energy poverty?
As highlighted by the participants during the session, there are some specific actions or tools that are key to effectively address energy poverty. Reflecting on the reported local experiences and insights gained during the national events, here are some of the most useful TIPS:
- Personalized attention to citizens: Promotion of energy offices.
- Strategic vision, coordination between actors and transversal work
- Improved access to data available at the local level (change of regulations, automation, calculation of indicators, open source tools).
- Strengthen Municipal Services with more staff, training in energy and energy poverty, and more economic resources to carry out projects and offer aid.
- Simplification of procedures and requirements for granting aid related to Energy Poverty.
- Specific resources to reach people in rural areas.
- Resources for training and education, both for municipal technicians and for citizens.
- Establishment of identification protocols.
- Citizen awareness campaigns.
- More tools for citizen participation in this area.
- Promotion of energy communities with an inclusive perspective (financing and support).
Learnings, challenges and identified problems and solutions:
1. What are the primary barriers identified that hinder efforts to address energy poverty in local communities/ regions?
- The UE regulation that does not contemplate energy as a right and does not protect vulnerable consumers.
- Absence of transversal work and coordination between actors
- Lack of data available at the local level and difficulty in obtaining them.
- Absence of collaboration from energy companies in tackling energy poverty.
- Lack of technical, human and economic resources in the municipalities.
- Lack of technical knowledge and training, both energy, and energy poverty in local administrations.
- Complex procedures and difficult-to-fulfill requirements to access aid related to energy poverty.
2. What could local, national and European administrations do in a coordinated way to better reduce energy poverty?
Here are some of the lessons learned regarding some related aspects. For example, to facilitate the energy poverty diagnosis and monitoring of energy poverty it would be interesting if the oragnizations could:
- Oblige companies to provide the necessary data, in a simple way, at the local level.
- Create a regional observatory endowed with resources.
To facilitate energy poverty cases identification:
- Establish protocols with local administration and social agents.
- Create a provision of resources (such as training and personnel).
To improve access to energy and prevent energy poverty it would be interesting to have:
- Impartial energy advice offices.
- Social rate that can be offered by all marketers (cost based on income).
- Simple and accessible aid for vulnerable population for energy renovation.
To make these policies in the best way:
- Creation of a space for sectoral coordination with periodic meetings and participation of the social entities, local, national and
- European administrations involved, as well as representatives of affected groups.
The dynamic organized to share experiences between municipalities, local authorities and organizations that are part of the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub allowed the assistants to identify challenges and solutions to take steps towards the identification of the energy poverty at the local levels.