Polish citizens' assembly discusses energy poverty

04. October 2022
Narada Obywatelska o Kosztach Energii

In October and November 2022, Poland's first national citizens' assembly will meet. It consists of 100 residents of the country who will spend five days together discussing the high cost of energy and ways to eliminate energy poverty.

Energy poverty means that people are not able to heat their homes and use electrical appliances sufficiently. This directly affects up to ten percent of the Polish population, while the indirect consequences - poor air quality due to high consumption of coal, oil and gas or the burden on the health system - affect a much larger group of people in Poland.

Information by experts

During the assembly meetings, the participants will be familiarised with the topic by experts from the fields of social policy, energy and climate, and then discuss possible solutions to the problem of high energy costs and energy poverty. At the end, there is a joint decision on recommendations for action to politicians.

The citizens' assembly is made up of people of different genders and educational backgrounds, of different ages, and from larger cities and small rural communities in Poland. For their participation, the assembly members receive an expense allowance of 720 Złoty (151 euros).

Broad discussion from March to June

Prior to the citizens' assembly, the "Fundacji Stocznia" Foundation and the Centrum Nauki Kopernik, as organisers of the assembly, had already involved citizens from different regions of Poland, representatives of organisations and institutions as well as local and state authorities in a joint discussion from March to June 2022 in order to develop socially agreed and acceptable recommendations for action to combat energy poverty in Poland.

The aim was to take the discussion into households and into cities and municipalities. There were various ways to participate in the debate. At local meetings, participants could talk about their situation and together look for measures against the high energy costs.

Assemblies and individual discussions

The meetings could be organised by anyone interested. Leaders from social organisations, church congregations, housewives' associations, housing associations, settlement councils and community representatives were particularly encouraged to do so. More than 700 people were at one of the events. For those who did not want to or could not attend these meetings, there was the possibility to express their opinion in a survey on the problem of high energy costs.

Separately, there were also one-to-one meetings with people who might be affected by energy poverty. These could be carried out by their relatives, neighbours and by people who work in the social sector, for example.

Goal: Eradicate energy poverty

The results from all the consultations were summarised in a joint document that was used to prepare the nationwide citizens' assembly.

The aim of the citizens' assembly project is to remove existing barriers and create tools to implement a short- and long-term strategy to reduce and eventually eliminate energy poverty. The assembly will decide on its recommendations to address energy poverty on 16 November 2022.

Publication of recommendations on 6 December

On 6 December 2022, the assembly recommendations will be presented to the public. The proposals will then be handed over to representatives of parliaments, national authorities, local governments, non-governmental organisations, think tanks and other groups for whom the issue of energy costs and growing energy poverty is or should be an important topic.

Read more: Narada Obywatelska o Kosztach Energii