Background to the programme
In Saint-Etienne almost 500 households request aid each year to pay their energy bills. The fuel poverty phenomenon is growing and it is responsible for health problems. Set up by Héliose (Info Energy Space), the ACSEE measures aim to provide a sustainable and preventive response by helping households cope in an active way.
Objectives of the programme
Target: households in fuel poverty living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Saint-Etienne.
The ACSEE operation has several levels and therefore several goals over 18 months:
- To inform people about energy poverty, national aid programs and local services
- Carry out 150 home visits and 20 personalised social accompaniments to study the effects of the information in terms of relevance and sustainability.
- Lead 12 workshops "Games, art and culture" and 6 films on energy to reach an audience who are usually difficult to mobilise.
The ACSEE operation is linked to two other Héliose actions: the Economical Home and the Positive Energy Family Challenge exhibition. It hinges on an individual approach (to have an effect on the financial impact) and a collective approach (to influence behavioural change).
- Mobilisation of the social partners: April to August 2013 (see Partnerships): identification period longer than anticipated but it was important for the successful implementation of the development program.
- Individual Action:
• Home visits conducted by two "Ambassadors of Energy Efficiency": awareness raised on energy savings and indoor air quality, installation of energy saving equipment, housing assessment, directed to relevant support schemes
• Individual support experiment on 20 households by AGASEF (Association for Management of Social Action for the Family Group) and a social worker: evaluation of the household's energy poverty, implementation of advice, involvement in collective actions, comparison of the results with a control sample of households without support.
- Collective Action: Setting up a competition (filming of a 3-minute video on the program's themes) targeting young people, organising fun group workshops, etc ... in order to reach a wider audience who don't have the reflex to ask for social support (eg. educational activities "PowerVote" in the form of an interactive powerpoint quiz)
Details of the estimated budget: €168,000: €30,000 on equipment (including a vehicle without license), €22,500 on services (equipment rental for workers & partners) and €1000 on communication (poster, flyer ...)
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
Mobilisation of social partners: 58 social players educated on the issues of fuel poverty and health in the home. Setting up of a technical committee with the operating partners to adjust the actions, directions, visits, venues and events.
Individual Action: 110 households: less than the target set but more than the results of SLIME (30 households). Consumption impact assessment: no results before the end of winter 2014-2015.
Collective actions: 17 awareness workshops for 515 people organised around neighbourhood organisations (educational, integration and voluntary policing associations, schools, etc ...) or social centres; 5 films submitted for the contest; 1 promotional film created by the ambassadors; support for 2 neighbourhood parties.
Positive impact on the dynamic in the fight against energy poverty, especially on identification: before the experiment, there was little guidance on the city of Saint Etienne. A departmental partnership (DUEL apparatus) enabled more people to be reached, but it was difficult to mobilise people from the same community because of the abundance of actors and measures. This action has therefore encouraged an interesting identification dynamic, especially through collective actions that served as a gateway to reach a new audience.
The link between the collective and individual actions brings originality and added value to this program. Another interesting element is the partnership with the Public Health Department of the City of Saint Etienne which has enabled the integration of a clear health dimension in the operation, notably the work related to the CMEI (Medical Advisor the Interior Environment). As part of the mobilisation of social partners through the running of joint training sessions and as part of the individual actions by steering households to one another's organisations.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
For the identification of households: City of Saint Étienne: via the CMEI and the CCAS in particular; AGASEF; The territorial development officers, the youth support groups and the Habitat Management Department of Saint Étienne Métropole; Social workers from the General Council of the Loire; Social workers from CAF; PIG Operators (Project of General Interest) Saint Etienne metropolis (PACT Loire-Héliose; Urbanis); Actors from the associative sphere (Pims, charities, social centers ...); Social housing landlords; EDF; ARS; ANAH;
For the support: AGASEF (Association for the Management of Social Action of Family Groups)
• Europe (FEDER - PUI funds)
• ARS (Regional Health Agency), DREAL (Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning and Land) and the Rhône-Alpes Region: following a call for projects on communication and environmental health
• Cities of Saint-Etienne and Saint Etienne Métropole
• EDF: partnership with the CCAS, provides energy kits and training for social actors
UNCCAS (National Union of CCAS): 2nd prize that will allow the partnership to be continued into 2015 (see the webpage and video: http://www.unccas.org/banque/default.asp id=1299)
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
The European funding was focused only on disadvantaged neighbourhoods so the program had to be limited: this created difficulties concerning the accompaniment as the partner associations weren't much involved in these neighbourhoods. In addition, some households identified weren't in the disadvantaged areas and so could not be part of the program.
Delay in the implementation of the program: difficult to find the right profile for the ambassadors.
Although the results are better than the SLIME objectives, they remain low compared to the number of people who are potentially in fuel poverty.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
For ambassadors: the team was changed during the program as the first two recruits left the program.
Creating partnerships with organisations in the neighbourhoods, setting up events and a centre to identify households: one needs to be pro-active and spend time in the field
Suggestions for future improvement :
The ACSEE program will merge with the DUAL program and become Info-Energy advisers who make visits and deliver an energy assessment of the housing with recommendations. The merger of these two programs will enable it to go further, to be more comprehensive and sustainable by working on two levels: a socio-technical assessment level and an energy assessment level.
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
To create strong partnerships in advance: the program was set up in collaboration with the community. It is important to take the time to present it to all the partners and all the organisations that will be affected and to take their individual recommendations and needs into account. When setting up the project, around thirty partners have been identified and ten have been consulted. The transaction has been well received since it was adapted to everyone's objectives and mission.