ASSIST – Support Network for Household Energy Saving

ASSIST – Support Network for Household Energy Saving

European project

ASSIST project offers a two-way approach to the problem of energy vulnerability. It involves actively engaging social and energy actors to promote the effective incorporation of consumers into the energy market and the design of policies at all levels to tackle energy poverty issues from a comprehensive perspective.

The project develops the following activities:

  • Starting point is the generation of in-depth knowledge on consumer vulnerability and on energy poverty. The insights enable partners to fine-tune their activities and national and European stakeholders to deepen their knowledge and trigger future initiatives.
  • The training of home energy advisers (HEA) aims to provide them with knowledge on social, communication and technical aspects. The Advisers then provide energy advice to vulnerable consumers about being more efficient and/or better satisfy their energy needs.
  • The creation and promotion of a network of trained HEAs facilitates access for vulnerable consumers to targeted effective support measures and favours the increase of the HEAs’ ability to support vulnerable consumers. Vulnerable consumers are then led hand-in-hand through an energy efficient pilot action to demonstrate that a good, domestic energy-efficient process is technically and economically feasible. The combined results of activities and the specific policy orientation tasks enable national and European stakeholders to measure their household energy needs and target energy efficiency measures to low-income households living in energy inefficient houses.
  • The project is a good example of setting up an efficient advisory and information service for vulnerable users and assisting them to improve comfort levels and to save on their energy bills. The HEA network model can be replicable. Local authorities are involved too as operators of a helpdesk that delivers advice to citizens.

With a budget of over 1 million euros, the impact of the HEAs support activities was monitored during the project through the following indicators: (1) the Energy Saving Indicator (ESI) that assesses energy and financials savings and comfort increases, and (2) the Vulnerability Empowerment Factor (VEF) that assesses consumer confidence in dealing with energy-related issues inside their dwellings. Through the project the addressed consumers achieved an ESI of between 2% and 7% and a VEF of 0.5.

The potential constraints are mainly related to the monitoring process. It can be complicated in some countries where there aren’t digital meters available and if the monitoring period is shorter than a year and thus does not cover seasonal changes. In some cases, the indicators cannot be representative of the complete picture, especially if there are social tariffs in place. The ASSIST project has faced some challenges related to data collection, monitoring involvement from stakeholders, such as the energy-poor target group.

The project started in 2017 and was completed in 2020.

Main beneficiaries: energy advisers, energy poor, frontline workers, low-income and practitioners.

It addressed the topics of: health, household appliances, education, energy access and consumption, energy audits, energy efficiency, social support, under consumption, financing schemes, vulnerable consumers.

The partners of the project: AISFOR (private company), RSE (research centre), Acquirente Unico (energy agency (national)), Ecoserveis (NGO), Alginet Distribución Energía Eléctrica (energy supplier), Severn Wye Energy Agency Limited (NGO), Energy Ville/VITO (research centre), Fluvius (energy supplier), EAPNH (NGO), Vaasaett (research centre), Federacja Konsumentów (NGO), Polish National Energy Conservation Agency (KAPE).

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