ASSIST is a 36-months European ‘market activation and policy orientation’ project to tackle fuel poverty and support vulnerable consumers. Its aim is to both actively engage consumers with the energy market, helping them to positively change their behaviour in relation to energy consumption as well as influence the design of policy relating to energy poverty.
Three reports are now published in relation to the project, examining several aspects and presenting solutions dealing with Energy poverty and Vulnerable consumers :
ASSIST is an European market activation and policy orientation project to tackle fuel poverty and support vulnerable consumers.
It intends to actively engage consumers in the energy market and positively change behaviour in relation to energy consumption, and influencing the design of policy at all levels to tackle energy poverty issues.
To fulfil its goals, ASSIST project foresees diversified and correlated research, networking and in-field actions, consistent with the relevant national and European scenarios. Among them, ASSIST intends to create a network of innovative professional figures supporting vulnerable consumers in their domestic energy consumption: the Household Energy Advisors (HEAs).
What is a HEA?
Dedicated research activities has been carried out to build HEA qualification schema, grounded on both national and European desk and in-field analysis. The HEA is an advisor directly in contact with vulnerable consumers that delivers information, support and advice to them in an easy, comprehensive and practical manner to improve their energy consumption behaviours and facilitate their access to supporting financial measures/incentives.
HEA is not a unique professional profile but it can play different and integrating potential occupations within diverse working contexts. HEAs may work within energy, social and institutional organizations as well as for private energy market actors such as energy companies. Their supporting and integrating role, working within a multi-professional team, can be played by some already existing professional profiles. Additionally, HEA activate both top-down (HEA assisting people in need using already existing channels) and bottom-up (people in need must be able to contact autonomously - and anonymously - HEAs) mechanism in engaging and assisting energy poor.
What does a HEA do?
Although there will be differences in each working context and among EU countries, there are three main activities of the HEA:
Consistently with the three activities, three main competences areas are required to the HEA: technical, social, relational.
How are they trained?
The HEA competence has been articulated in terms of modular system correlated to the activities in order to evaluate a common schema and the national diversity. Starting from the HEA requirements, a modular ASSIST program has been built. It enables to guarantee a common EU based professional and training frame, as well as a national customization according to the HEA background/entry-level and working contexts.
Once successfully completed the training course, he/she will become a qualified HEA and member of the National Network of HEA and will:
Have access to the continuous training provided by ASSIST partner organisations, covering all aspects of volunteering and working with vulnerable consumers;
Share experiences and information with other members of the HEA National network, experts and trainers as well as the members of the ASSIST National Steering Committee
Gain experience by actively delivering the ASSIST pilot action defined by ASSIST national partners in collaboration with the ASSIST National Steering Committee.