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Mitigating household energy poverty


Actions should contribute to actively alleviating energy poverty and developing a better understanding of the types and needs of energy poor households and how to identify them, taking into account gender differences where relevant, building on any existing initiatives such as the European Energy Poverty Observatory.

The proposed action should cover one or more of the following:

  • Facilitate behaviour change and implementation of low-cost energy efficiency measures tailored for energy poor households (e.g. provision of information and advice, energy efficiency services such as draught proofing or optimisation of existing building technology systems, as well as energy efficiency devices & kits such as low-energy lighting);
  • Support the set-up of financial and non-financial support schemes for energy efficiency and/or small scale renewable energy investments for energy poor households. These actions should be embedded in, and add value to, structural frameworks and activities involving local, regional, and national authorities, and/or networks such as the Covenant of Mayors;
  • Develop, test and disseminate innovative schemes for energy efficiency/RES investments established by utilities or other obligated parties under Article 7.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

The proposed actions are invited to build on experiences and lessons learned in other relevant projects and programmes[[This should include e.g. LIFE projects, the implementation of Air Quality Plans and the implementation of Operational Programmes under ESIF, H2020 projects, Intelligent Energy Europe projects, and other relevant national, local, or regional initiatives.]].

European households continue to spend an increasing share of income on energy, leading to higher rates of energy poverty and negatively affecting living conditions and health. Recent estimates suggest that more than 50 million Europeans are affected by energy poverty[[Energy poverty generally refers to ‘a situation where individuals or households are not able to adequately heat or provide other required energy services in their homes at affordable cost']]. Although roots of this phenomenon lie mainly in low incomes and poor thermal efficiency of buildings, energy efficiency measures at the household level and increased use of renewable energy are key tools in addressing energy poverty and can bring energy savings, leading to lower fuel costs and improved living conditions. The issue is in part exacerbated by a lack of sufficient knowledge on how to identify energy poor households.

In this context, the role of local and national authorities, related networks and initiatives[[E.g. Covenant of Mayors, European Energy Poverty Observatory, SEAPs.]], and availability of support schemes are important to ensure the sustainability and larger scale uptake of the measures.

Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes[[Stemming from art 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive]] can also be used to promote social aims, such as tackling energy poverty. The obligated parties (utilities) have potentially at their disposal the necessary data and means to identify energy poverty among their customers and effectively address it by fulfilling in this way the energy efficiency obligation. Building the capacity of the obligated parties is needed in order to spread such schemes across the EU.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate, depending on the scope addressed, the impacts listed below using quantified indicators and targets, wherever possible:

  • Primary energy savings triggered by the project (in GWh/year);
  • Investments in sustainable energy triggered by the project in(million Euro);
  • Contributions to policy development and to best practice development on energy poverty;
  • Support schemes established for energy efficiency and/or small-scale renewable energy investments and to be sustained beyond the period of EU-support.
  • Involvement of at least 5.000 consumers per million Euro of EU funding.

Additional positive effects can be quantified and reported when relevant and wherever possible:

  • Reduction of greenhouse gases emissions (in tCO2-eq/year) and/or air pollutants (in kg/year) triggered by the project.