Fighting fuel poverty addressing energy and social issues
ASSIST project (engaging social and energy actors in the creation of an innovative European network of Vulnerable Consumers Energy Advisors) press release:
EAPN, in partnership with 10 other organisations from 6 European countries (Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, Belgium and Finland), and working with members of our National Networks in these countries & others, has begun working on the three-year project ‘ASSIST – Together4Vulnerability, Networking and Action to Tackle Vulnerability Together’. This project, funded by the European Commission under the H2020 programme, will address both energy and social issues, as fuel poverty is not only an energy concern nor can it be tackled in isolation of the bigger issue of poverty.
In recent years, energy users have gained more rights with the transposition of relevant European energy legislation. There is nevertheless the recognition that consumers’ rights (with special reference to vulnerable consumers and fuel poor) need to be further strengthened, and that the increasing market complexity needs to be addressed through concrete solutions to improve levels of empowerment and engagement.
ASSIST offers a two-way approach to the problem: active engaging of consumers in the energy market, and a positive change of behaviour in relation to energy consumption and to influence design of policy at all levels to tackle fuel poverty issues. More specifically, it will:
- Broaden understanding on European fuel poverty incidence and how energy support services are effectively tackling the issue, identify best practice and needs but also provide a baseline against which the activity can be compared to demonstrate its effectiveness and to inform work towards policy orientation.
- Create a European network and build this by ensuring quality knowledge and skills of the Vulnerable Consumer Energy Advisors (VCEA) with a supportive infrastructure for professional development and experiencing sharing. The VCEA will be in positions of direct contact with the target group in order to help mainstream energy services and, increase access and uptake for the fuel poor.
- The creation of the VCEA network will also encompass the recruitment of persons with direct experience of vulnerability/fuel poverty, training them to increase their employability skills but, moreover, to maximise on the peer to peer benefits that they can offer in provision of advice .
- With specialist VCEA and advisory strategic steering committees each nation will undertake target actions to address the specific issue. In this way the action utilises the powerful effect of target group ownership of action + bespoke solutions designed in collaboration with the target groups/end users to deliver important lessons learned for dissemination and policy influence.
Download the full press release here!
More info is available at the European Commission website: http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/209995_en.html
Note to editor:
The European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) is the largest European network of national, regional and local networks, involving anti-poverty NGOs and grassroots groups as well as European Organisations, active in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. It was established in 1990.