Fighting energy poverty through users engagement on the Energy Market – ASSIST2GETHER

The Severn Wye Energy Agency is engaged in the ASSIST2GETHER Project, working on the improvement of energy efficiency and tackling energy poverty.

Severn Wye Energy Agency is engaged in the ASSIST Project, a Horizon 2020 funded project aiming at promoting the right to access to energy and users engagement in the energy market. , the our volunteers have first-hand experience of Fuel Poverty which is helping us develop new approaches to engagement.

The project

The starting point of the project is the generation of in depth knowledge on consumer vulnerability and, more specifically, on energy poverty. Indeed, there is, at the moment, no clear and unique definition for its identification and measuring. The transposition of relevant EU Legislation granted more rights to energy users. However, consumer’s rights, and especially vulnerable consumers and energy poors still need to be strengthened. The complexity of the market also makes it necessary to develop new solutions to ensure a relevant level of empowerment and engagement.

The ASSIST project operates on two levels:

  • An active engagement of consumers in the energy market: It uses volunteers to support consumers, particularly those vulnerable to fuel poverty, to improve energy efficiency behaviours
  • Influencing policy and activity at all levels to ensure a positive change of behaviour in relation to energy consumption and tackle energy poverty issues

ASSIST builds on the results of various national and European level initiatives related to energy efficiency funded by different programmes: the Smart-Up project (Horizon2020) ; ACHIEVE, ENFORCE, ENERGY AMBASSADORS or SeRENADE (IEE (Intelligent Energy for Europe Programme) or the Insight_E Project (FP7, the EU programme for Research and Innovation for 2007-2013).

Implementation

The main features of the project includes:

  • the creation of a Vulnerable Consumer Energy Advisors (VCEA) network of volunteers across the 6 EU project partner countries and supported by Severn Wye Energy Agency.
  • engaging local and national political stakeholders in consumer vulnerability and fuel poverty.

The project started in 2017, and will continue until April 2020. 4 different phases have been developed. The Project is funded under the Horizon 2020 Program for a total of €1649370. The consortium is formed by 11 partners, who represent national stakeholders from 6 different European countries (Italy, Spain, UK, Poland, Belgium and Finland) and one European network.

IN-DEPTH KNOWLEDGE

The project generates first hand and in-depth knowledge on energy poverty in Europe resulting in the production of the “Vulnerable Consumers and Energy Poverty Report”. The report highlights the large varieties of situations in EU countries regarding the definition of Energy Poverty. There is for example a strong background in the UK and Ireland regarding academic researches on this topic. In other countries, such as the Netherlands or Spain, there is no formal recognition of a definition even though Energy Poverty is being adressed through wider welfare programs. There are also countries, such as Scandinavia or Austria, where Energy poverty doesn’t appear to be an issue and isn’t considered as outside of the welfare system. The aim through this report was to enable partners to fine-tune the activities and National/European stakeholders to deepen their knowledge and trigger future initiatives to better fight energy poverty.

VULNERABLE CONSUMERS ENERGY ADVISORS (VCEA) TRAINING

The ASSIST project introduces innovative voluntary energy advisors across the partner countries. The voluntary advisors are trained in the social, communication and technical aspects of their activities, which is to provide energy advices. The HEA will provide vulnerable consumers/energy poor with advices on how to be more efficient and/or better satisfy their energy needs.

VULNERABLE CONSUMERS ENERGY ADVISORS (VCEA) NETWORK

The network of over 450 trained volunteers operates across partner countries. It provides consumers with increased access to qualified, trustworthy, accessible, and specific advice to support the energy needs of 4500 consumers. The network has a two-fold objective: first, facilitate the access of vulnerable consumers to targeted effective support measures through an effective assistance providing smart assistance of enhanced and increased quality. Second, favour the continuously increase of the HEA’s ability to support vulnerable consumers.

ASSIST ACTION

Through this phase of the Project, the aim is to provide energy consumers a support, advice and guidance to access financial support, reduce energy bills, and implement energy efficient behaviors. This is made possible through the implementation of a pilot action programme. Vulnerable consumer will be led hand-in-hand throughout an energy efficient pilot action to demonstrate that a good domestic energy efficient process is technically and economically feasible and that it actually leads to energy saving. The delivery of national actions identifies effective means to tackle the energy poverty issue, but also facilitates their replication in other countries and favour their take-up in European/National policies.

POLICY ORIENTATION

The combined results of activities and the specific policy orientation tasks will enable National and European stakeholders to measure household energy needs and target energy efficiency measures to low-income households living in energy inefficient houses. 

Results

ASSIST is designed to have a high impact at national and european level. Several deliverables have been produced in the course of the implementation of the project.

The Household energy advisors Report compares and integrates the evidence collected at each national level with reference to the definition of the Home Energy Advisors innovative professional, allowing to build a common – but modular – HEA profile.

The Home Energy Advisors Training Guidelines report has been produced for example. It includes strategy guidelines taking into account each national context on the bases of a common frame, aimed at guiding the operative choices related to overall training action (from educational design and training plan definition to its promotion and target involvement to its evaluation).The national reports included in this publication illustrate how the HEA training will be carried out in each country, detailing the strategy of the course delivery, from the selection of the participants to the final assessment of the course.

The project also allowed for an increased knowledge of political stakeholders on consumers’ vulnerability and energy poverty, making them more aware of the necessity to promote policies designed to tackle energy poverty.


About


Country :
United Kingdom
Region :
Time frame :
2017 - 2020
Website :
www.severnwye.org.uk
www.assist2gether.eu
Download

Action Report - ASSIST Project
assist_action_report.pdf

Organisation Name Position Contact
Severn Wye Energy Agency Victoria Boynton Project Manager
Severn Wye Energy Agency Rob Hargraves Senior Project Manager robh(at)severnwye.org.uk