Energy Action held its fourth annual Fuel Poverty Conference in Dublin on 6th October 2014. The title of the conference was “Fuel Poverty in Ireland – an Integrated New Approach”. The aim of the conference was to provide a forum for those working in the area of fuel poverty to share key information, experience and perspectives in order to identify lasting solutions to the issue. The Conference reviewed current policy and best practice with regard to fuel poverty / energy affordability in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the UK, Europe and indeed worldwide.
Over the course of the conference emphasis was placed on the multifaceted nature of fuel poverty and the urgent need for an integrated, partnership approach in tackling the issue. The importance of joined-up action was stressed, involving policy makers, local authorities, regulators, community based organisations, energy companies, health experts, social researchers, building practitioners and the various agencies supporting vulnerable people.
The need to address the three variables of fuel poverty – energy efficiency, income and fuel prices – in an integrated and targeted way was discussed as well as the difficulties in identifying those living in fuel poverty. There was a strong focus on the significant health impacts of fuel poverty on the fuel poor.
The important role played by Community Based Organisations in helping to reduce fuel poverty through their delivery of a quality service to the most vulnerable in their local areas was also highlighted.