AISFOR will participate at the conference organized by the EESC - European Economic and Social Committee (EESC - European Economic and Social Committee) "Tackling energy poverty at the heart of the ecological and energy transition" scheduled for 21 April 2022, to present the work carried out in the ASSIST project, an Horizon2020 project coordinated by AISFOR, to define an innovative and holistic model to fight energy poverty. The intervention will be an opportunity not only to illustrate the activities carried out and the results achieved during the 3 years of the project, but also to present the work carried out after the end of the project to consolidate and scale into a model in Italy - work that led to the birth of the non-profit organization RETE ASSIST.
Since energy poverty is a multidimensional issue concerning both technical and social aspects, it requires a multifaceted response capable of satisfying different needs. The strengthening of skills, thanks to the specialized training of figures already operating in the territory in various capacities or in different professional contexts (non-profit organizations, civil society organizations, consumer associations, etc.), gives life to the figure of the Tutor Energetico Domestico (TED), which assumes a central supporting role not only in giving advice and practical solutions to reduce energy consumption, but also in adopting a more conscious behavior by citizens, who in the long term will be autonomous in their energy choices.
ASSIST has demonstrated the positive impact both on energy poverty (the inability to fully meet one's energy needs) and on energy vulnerability (lack of knowledge of the energy market that leads to not being an active player by making informed and right choices). Thanks to the interventions of the TED, on average, the results were:
Energy consumption (objective data based on the bill): there was no significant reduction in energy consumption. A justifiable result from the situation of energy poverty in which the assisted persons are already at the start, which leads them to reduce consumption to a minimum (and in some cases even to force them to go beyond the minimum necessary);
Energy costs: there was a reduction in energy costs (objective data based on the bill). This result can be justified by the fact that many people had a contract for the supply of energy not in line with their needs and consumption habits, leading to higher costs than needs. By modifying the contractual conditions, even with the same consumption, consumption was reduced
Perceived comfort level (subjective data perceived by the person): people perceived an increase in the level of comfort after the TED intervention. This result, even if not objective, can be justified by taking into consideration the socio-emotional aspects of the subject who, feeling followed and supported (also point 4) perceive a higher level of comfort.
Vulnerability factor (subjective data perceived by the person): people perceived a reduction in their level of vulnerability, thus feeling less vulnerable within the energy market. This result can also be justified by taking into consideration the socio-emotional aspects of people who, knowing that they have a qualified person with whom they can talk and ask for help, feel safer and therefore less vulnerable.
The Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN - European Anti-Poverty Network), partner of the ASSIST project, stressed the importance of an initiative such as the one proposed with the ASSIST Model, based on a holistic approach and direct contact with citizens in conditions of energy poverty already during the same 2021 conference "Energy poverty at the crossroads of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Green Deal". In the next conference AISFOR will illustrate not only the important results achieved but will bring the Italian example as a country in which the ASSIST model has been permanently adopted as a tool to fight energy poverty. With the birth of the RETE ASSIST association, born in March 2022, all Italian operators active in the fight against energy poverty (TED) will continue to be provided with initial training, continuous training and updating, activities of constantly updated work resources and support to their field activities.