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Working Paper information

Tackling energy poverty through social entrepreneurship department in utilities

M.J. Manjón

Energy poverty still affects more than 50 million people in Europe. However, efforts to tackle this complex problem by different actors appear to be insufficient. Incumbent utilities have a crucial role in the regime through their adaptation and pro-activity directed towards the inclusive energy transition. Social entrepreneurs, who have the mission to solve social problems if properly positioned, could create a potential space to address the energy poverty problem. This conceptual paper proposes a new pro-active social entrepreneurship structure within the utility organisation designed to mitigate energy poverty in the Global North. The niche of social entrepreneurs would enter the electricity regime through the creation of a social company department within the utilities. This department would enrich CSR policies and practices with a more stakeholder-oriented approach. This high-level proposal could help the utility earmark vulnerable customers in a mission-driven department. The drivers for this change in the organisational structure of the utility are discussed. The main features of the new department are a capabilities-centered approach to achieve SDG 7 and energy justice principles mixed with the search for self-sustainability. We conclude by highlighting how this organisational change may result in a more stakeholders approach of the CSR and in the acceleration of the just energy transitions.

Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, Social entrepreneurship, Utility, Sustainable Development Goals, Energy industry, Energy poverty, Conceptual paper, Multistakeholders, Stakeholders theory, Vulnerable consumers

Registration date: 03/06/2020


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