Cities take actions to exit energy poverty

These innovative practices & projects will inspire you!


This month, you might have read our article on the ingredients for a local strategy against energy poverty (find it here if you have not!). With this blog, we want to inspire you with more successful example of local authorities’ actions to exit energy poverty, brought to you by some of our members.

Barcelona defending people’s energy rights

The city of Barcelona is committed to defend the energy rights of its inhabitants. Since 2015, a law prohibits utilities to cut off supply to vulnerable customers. In 2017, to support households in need the City Council set up “Energy Advice Points” in 11 districts, acting like watch-dogs for people’s rights. Each point provides information and support to:

  • Evaluate reminders for non-payment of bills and avoid suspension of services for vulnerable families.
  • Estimate energy costs and cut energy consumption at home.
  • Change distributor or switch to variable tariffs.
  • Apply for social tariffs and the exemption from the sewer tax.
  • Produce solar energy at home, and develop renewable energy projects.

Many people have been using this service, that prevented water, gas and electricity supplies being cut off in 27,598 cases and helped save 81,692 euros in 2020! In addition, a third of the staff employed by the City Council for the Energy Advice Points is composed by people that are themselves at risks of exclusion (previously unemployed, mostly female and over 45) and potential beneficiaries of the service.

Wien Energie’s counselling services

In Vienna, it’s the energy provider Wien Energie (a subsidiary of the municipal utility company Wiener Stadtwerke) who is directly engaged against energy poverty. 6% of the households in the Austrian capital are affected and since 2011 Wien Energie customers can receive individual advice through the Energy Ombudsman service. The support offered ranges from consumption checks to house visits, in view of offering targeted solutions, avoiding service interruption and lawsuits.  The Ombudsman also cooperates with social services and offers consulting and training to decision makers. According to 2020 data, Wien Energie Ombudsman received over 21,000 requests from social institutions und has successfully helped around 14,500 households!

Home Energy Saving Kits in Dublin

How to allow people to get a sense of their energy use, identify possible intervention and reduce their bills? Codema, Dublin’s Energy Agency, developed “Home Energy Saving Kits” available free of charge for all residents at different libraries across the city. Each kit includes a set of tools that are easy to use (a fridge thermometer, a temperature & humidity meter, a radiator key, a thermal leak detector, a plug-in energy monitor and a chronometer) and can be integrated with a guide on energy efficiency measures. The initiative was so successful that the kits are now available in many libraries throughout Ireland.

Have a look at the video below to learn more

Want to discover innovative solutions to energy poverty?

Energy Cities is currently involved in the projects Wellbased and Power Up to experiment new local solutions to energy poverty. In the framework of Wellbased 6 cities will develop and test programmes to improve health, wellbeing and equality for people affected by energy poverty. Thanks to Power Up, we will support local governments to develop innovative business models for socially driven energy market players together with households affected by fuel poverty. Make sure you follow these projects!

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Publication date

October 7, 2021