This study deals with three main questions: i) How is the network of actors and tools to fight energy poverty structured in France? ii) What are the specific issues that these actors face with respect to data and what solutions could be proposed? iii) What lessons can be drawn from an analysis of the new “socio-ecological” policy regarding the governance of the ecological transition on a larger scale?


The fight against energy poverty is a very tangible aspect of public policy – three billion Euros are spent every year only on mitigating energy poverty related to energy consumption in the residential sector. However, it is a relatively new issue and thus demands a new kind of action due to its position at the meeting point of welfare, housing, energy transition and other policies. In such an unprecedented context which gives the issue its own structure, energy poverty faces the dual challenges of qualification and quantification. Qualifying—or defining—the concept is difficult as it is a multifaceted and evolving phenomenon at the crossroads of social, economic and energy issues. And quantifying—or measuring—it is difficult because the available data is diverse and produced by several different actors. Issues relating to the reliability, centralization, standardization, access and updating of data are thus crucial to the definition and implementation of public policies tackling energy poverty.


Based on interviews conducted with about 40 diversified actors and a discussion workshop, this study proposes an analytical framework which outlines six different phases in defining and implementing policies to combat energy poverty. At the political representation level of the phenomenon, data helps to flesh out and engage with the concept. At the stage of diagnosis, data helps to understand energy poverty, define the types of affected households and draw up energy poverty incidence charts. When it comes to detection, affected households must be carefully identified so that the solution proposed is adapted to their situation. Policy implementation requires coordination between the various local stakeholders to support households that receive assistance. The final phase involves assessing the different instruments. In this analysis, we outline the uses of energy poverty-related data collection and identify issues at each of the different phases.


Following an overview and assessment of areas that need improvement in each phase, this study sets out a series of key recommendations. Broader lessons regarding the public policies needed for ecological transformation and modernizing the social welfare system are also drawn, articulating levels of intervention, scope of action and ownership and access to data.

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