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Energy poverty, in Europe there are over 34 million people in difficulty

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There pandemic and theinvasion of Ukraine by the Russia are likely to draw an even deeper gap among families in conditions of energy poverty and the others. The European Observatory has estimated at over 34 million people living in EU countries unable to adequately heat their homes due to high costs of gas and electricity. In Italy alone, in 2020, the problem affected 8% of families. The number is actually much higher when you also consider those who fail to cover basic housing costs or live in energy-intensive apartments.

Ensuring adequate heating and lighting, as well as energy to power electronic appliances, is an increasingly difficult goal to achieve due to the pandemic first and the war in Ukraine later. There energy dependence of individual states from Russian gas, for example, only aggravates the situation. The real risk of a stop to supply through the Nord Stream pipeline block 1, repeatedly threatened by the Russians, would force non self-sufficient European states to resort to emergency solutions that would raise energy costs. Reversing this trend is one of the objectives that national and international politics intend to achieve in the shortest possible time.

With the 2019 Clean Energy package, the European Union is committed to protecting vulnerable consumers by introducing the tool national energy and climate plans (Pniec), according to which all EU countries outline ten-year national plans to address the different energy and climate objectives. The European Green Deal, the EU’s overall growth plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, also underlines the need to integrate the goal of mitigating energy poverty and supporting a just energy transition for all. Italy has implemented the directives through the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (Pniec), which aims at decarbonisation by 2030 it’s at reduce primary energy consumption by 43%. Italy has associated actions with the long-term objectives that aim to combat energy poverty in the short term through i renovation bonus and super bonus 110%which make it possible to assign the credit or obtain deductions for the energy redevelopment of buildings.

Energy poverty, however, particularly affects low incomes and those who live in social housing often equipped with high-consumption systems. In addition to a policy of regenerating these properties, residents of social housing in Milan have been involved in the customized Energy project which, through the monitoring of household consumption, aims to reduce costs by reading bills and installing intelligent devices connected to household appliances and the central electricity meter, improving the use of energy itself. The project allowed vulnerable families to reduce average energy consumption by 35% compared to the national average consumption. Citizen support initiatives have been launched in various municipalities: the mayor of Bologna, for example, proposed assigning energy-poor families “Shopping vouchers”, similar to those used in the lockdown phase. For nuclei in particular difficult situations, Bologna has provided a contribution of 100 dolars financed with funds from the Municipality, to meet energy costs.