The unfolding COVID-19 health and economic crisis are enlarging the breadth and depth of energy poverty (EP) – a significant form of household material deprivation that affected tens of millions of Europeans before the emergency onset in March 2020. Lockdowns and mobility restrictions established by public authorities underline the importance of housing and domestic energy as structural determinants of health and well-being. In this context, the third policy brief of the ENGAGER Working Group 3 (WG3) highlights the need for enhanced stakeholder engagement around energy poverty and for renewed dialogue across the multiple sectors and actors involved. With this policy brief, we also advocate for emancipatory narratives that reveal the unjust social provisioning of essential services that the pandemic is making even more evident. It builds on our two previous WG3 policy briefs on the psycho-social dimensions of energy poverty and the need for qualitative research to amplify the voices and lived experiences of energy poverty. This brief also reflects the conclusions of the ENGAGER call for action in response to the COVID-19 crisis in Europe. We put forward three key arguments in this policy brief:· Emancipatory narratives for household energy poverty call for energy to be considered as a ‘human right’ and as social ‘commons’. · Citizen-led, community-oriented decision making creates opportunities for more just and inclusive policy outcomes, as long as barriers to participation, especially the ones related to gender inequalities, are considered. · New actors with untapped capabilities for EP action (e.g., citizen energy communities and Ombudspersons) can act as ‘engagement brokers’ or champions of the rights and voices of affected persons.
Entidad Financiadora: European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST).