Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, and the European Policy Centre, an independent, not-for-profit think tank with the support of the King Baudouin Foundation, announce the launch of the Energy Poverty Task Force to consider energy poverty challenges in the European Union. The launch event of the task force took place on January 26, 2016 in Brussels, in presence of Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of energy.
Energy poverty affects people in mature economies who do not have normal and regular access to the energy necessary to cover their basic domestic needs, i.e. heating, power and cooking. This is caused by a combination of low incomes, higher electricity prices and poor building energy performance. According to the French National Energy Poverty Monitor (Observatoire National de la Précarité Energétique, or ONPE), energy poverty affects nearly 20% of the French population. Fight against energy poverty in mature economies is today a major development issue, as access to energy in developing countries. It needs to improve people’s day-to-day lives while offering concrete solutions to tackle climate change.
Meanwhile, Schneider Electric with its Foundation already engaged numerous initiatives as part of the programme to fight energy poverty. Late November 2015, the Schneider Electric Foundation, under the aegis of the Fondation de France, joined the platform for the fight against energy poverty set up in Belgium by the King Baudouin Foundation. Schneider Electric and the Schneider Electric Foundation will offer concrete energy management solutions for families concerned in Belgium. In France, at the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014, Schneider Electric unveiled a sustainable and innovative social housing concept for the project “Habitat pour tous face à l’urgence” (“Emergency housing for all”), for the social housing charity Habitat et Humanisme, and in association with the employment agency La Varappe. Designed from containers, houses are fully recyclable and incorporate Schneider Electric’s Wiser energy efficiency solution to manage energy consumption. In September 2015, the Schneider Electric Foundation and Ashoka launched a call for projects entitled Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty. The aim was to encourage exciting new social ideas for improving the living conditions of millions of people in six European countries (Belgium, France, Britain, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic). On December 7, the two partners announced the 14 winners from the call for proposals, who will each receive one-to-one support to develop their initiatives.