Adapting the Project activities to the COVID-19 pandemic

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As the lockdown eases and we slowly move towards a new form of normal in our office and everyday life, we reflect upon how we have used the quarantine time to work on the project and what impact it has had on our activities.

We seized the opportunity presented by everyone working from home and all events being cancelled to conclude our energy poverty expert interviews with nearly two dozen interviews conducted. The qualitative data gathered throughout these interviews will be instrumental in informing our policy paper.

We were able to speak to a number of academics, policy-makers, and civil society representatives who shared their knowledge and insights from working on energy poverty projects around Europe. We discussed best-practice and what policies and bottom-up interventions can effectively be translated to the Romanian context. We discussed the role of EU institutions and regulations in addressing energy poverty along with funding mechanisms meant to address the topic and the importance of energy poverty within the EU Green Deal. Researchers provided insights in the important empirical knowledge and understanding of the topic and we were able to examine the historical development of energy poverty. Lastly, we interviewed CSR representatives from utility providers to discuss how energy poverty is understood and addressed from a business point of view along with the role that utility providers can play in helping to alleviate energy poverty.

The interview aspect of the project remained unaffected – and may even have been facilitated – by the coronavirus lockdown, while other activities had to be adapted.

Other project activities unfortunately had to be changed slightly. The month of May was meant to mark the beginning of quantitative and qualitative data gathering process via on site household questionnaires in Cluj. While this approach is no longer possible, we have adapted the data collection method and are working closely with home owners’ associations which will fill out questionnaires regarding their building stock. Alongside this we will conduct household questionnaires via telephone, which still allows us to gather all the data points needed for the study.