European Conference 2013

Energy Action successfully ran The National Fuel Poverty Conferences in Dublin Castle in 2011 and 2012. Resulting from the their success and mindful of the fact that Ireland was to host the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from January to June 2013, Energy Action was asked to run a European Fuel Poverty Conference in Dublin in 2013. To view the programmme click here. The conference was the first of its kind. We had a wonderful line up of distinguished presenters from Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK, from a number of European countries including, Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, and from USA, Canada and New Zealand. The conference brought together fuel poverty researchers, policymakers, and practitioners from all over Europe, in order to seek areas of common ground and shared understanding. Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, and Nelson McCausland MLA, Minister for Social Development, Northern Ireland Assembly jointly launched the conference and gave the opening address. The Conference facilitated dialogue between regulators, local authorities, island communities, politicians, health experts, researchers, private contractors, energy companies and the various agencies supporting vulnerable people in Ireland and Europe. The aim of Energy Action’s annual Fuel Poverty 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, and continental Europe and provided a stimulating forum for debate and discussion around these key issues as well as the exchange of valuable information. The event built areas of consensus, raised the profile of fuel poverty, and embedded energy poverty within the broader rubric of EU legislation and remedial action. Over the course of the conference emphasis was placed on the multifaceted nature of fuel poverty and the need for joint-up action, involving professionals from all disciplines, to effectively address the issue. The need to address the three variables of fuel poverty, energy efficiency, income and fuel prices in a targeted way was discussed as well as the difficulties in identifying those living in fuel poverty. The strong role played by Community Based Organisations in eradicating fuel poverty through their delivery of a quality service to the most vulnerable in their area was also highlighted and the further development of this kind of service was proposed by many.