The EU Energy Poverty Observatory worked together with the Covenant of Mayors through different channels to identify municipalities that are interested to participate in the project. Jointly, technical assistance has been provided to five municipalities to develop energy poverty policies. The selected municipalities were Arnhem (Netherlands), Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Highlands Council (United Kingdom), Lisbon (Portugal) and Tirana (Albania). Technical assistance was based on the EU Energy Poverty Observatory Guidance that was presented early July 2018 at a webinar organised together with the Covenant of Mayors. The Guidance allowed for the local context to be taken into account, so that the technical assistance could be adapted to the needs of the municipalities.
Most municipalities were relatively new to the topic of energy poverty and therefore decided to focus first on pilot projects to raise awareness and provide information to households within specific areas in the municipality. A common challenge was the selection of neighbourhoods to carry out the pilot project. Different areas come with their own problems, ranging from poor housing to poverty and lack of resources. Tackling energy poverty in a neighbourhood with complicated issues might have extensive benefits but could also be too challenging for a pilot project. Discussions with relevant stakeholders helped municipalities to choose and decide for a specific area.
The stakeholder mapping of the Guidance was considered especially useful. This allowed municipalities to identify possible partners for projects as well as cooperation and funding opportunities. In addition to the direct stakeholders in the Guidance, municipalities also considered possible research partners such as universities which could help with providing training and resources, for example by volunteering students. Discussions with stakeholders provided municipalities with new insights and paths towards concrete implementation.
The EU Energy Poverty Observatory Guidance on Designing effective energy poverty policies in municipalities is available here.