Awareness about the social problem related to energy poverty has been growing in recent years in Italy and Europe, where energy poverty refers to the difficulty of meeting basic energy needs and thus having to cope with choices about basic needs. Energy poverty is a situation that, although difficult to define and therefore difficult to quantify, is estimated to be common to 50 million people in Europe. According to the territorial analysis conducted by the Committee of the Regions on energy poverty (in which AISFOR participated), energy poverty affects about 11 percent of the EU population, or 54 million Europeans. However, most EU countries still have not identified or quantified vulnerable energy consumers, nor have they taken adequately targeted measures to combat energy poverty.
In utmost years, the European Union has given more prominence to the problem by calling on member states to adopt concrete solutions to measure and combat energy poverty. The European Commission has published Recommendations on energy poverty in which are encapsulated in 9 points suggestions to Member States to initiate / consolidate actions to combat energy poverty. Also in 2020, the European Commission, with the approaching end of the European Energy Poverty Observatory launched the initiative to provide technical assistance to municipalities to implement sustainable solutions to alleviate energy poverty.
At the end of 2020 comes EPAH - Energy Poverty Advisor Hub, a 4-year initiative with the goal of assisting municipalities in combating energy poverty through:
- knowledge building - trainings will be developed (online) on the issue and the role of municipalities (and other public entities) to increase municipalities' knowledge on the issue and how to mitigate the effects;
- capacity building - reports, case studies, and guidelines will be produced to increase the capacity of municipalities to play an active role with policies and actions to combat energy poverty;
- mentoring - calls will be issued to municipalities interested in launching concrete new initiatives. Successful grantees of these calls will receive expert support and mentoring services to launch their initiative.
AISFOR will be responsible for building and delivering the trainings and in-depth resources for municipalities.