Proposed solutions

  1. Reform of the Thermo-modernization and Renovation Fund

Our recommendation is a well-designed quota distribution system based on diagnosed needs:

  1. Creating a system of loan support for poorer housing associations (e.g. in the form of housing allowances or guarantee funds)

Small and less wealthy housing associations are often do not have enough creditworthiness, enabling them to apply for funds at the Thermo-modernization and Renovation Fund. By creating a system of subsidiarization for certain entities, instead of offering only a credit premium, the National Development Bank would enable the less wealthy housing associations to conduct more investments in thermo-modernization of their buildings.

  1. Favoring certain investors (smaller housing associations) or types of investments (connecting to district heating, smaller investments up to a certain amount).

Habitat Poland is of the opinion that investments in district heating and smaller thermal insulation improvements such as exchanging windows, are an effective way of reducing energy poverty. Therefore, it is important to define the most effective types of thermo-modernization investments and favor these investments when distributing the available funds.

  1. Social tariffs

Habitat for Humanity Poland also acknowledges the benefits of introducing so-called social tariff for electricity in Poland. Such tariff would systematically decrease the price of electricity below the levels set by the Energy Regulatory Office for the chosen energy consumers (people defined as vulnerable consumers) or for all energy consumers in Poland under certain conditions.

Introducing a common social tariff for electricity could bring tangible and palpable social and economic benefits.

Habitat Poland additionally recommends increasing the responsibility of energy suppliers. The current law allows for disconnecting energy consumers already after 30 days of delay in paying the bills, preceded by an additional 14 days for settling the bills.

Obliging the supplier to contact the indebted consumer multiple times before the disconnection – including a phone call and a house visit, would prolong the disconnection process, but also enable working out a compromise between both sides. It should be in the supplier’s interest not to disconnect energy consumers – they often do not understand official letters or because of their living situation are unable to settle the bills. Intensified contact would enable for improved insight into the consumer’s situation and proposing possible solutions, such as paying in installments, temporary social tariffs or other forms of help.

  1. Education program

The already existing mechanisms enable for investing in increasing energy efficiency of housing and modernizing households’ sources of heat. However, due to the lack of knowledge and competences many individuals and housing associations are not making the appropriate steps in order to secure and effectively use the available funds and other mechanisms of support.

Therefore, Habitat Poland recommends a widespread training program for administrators of smaller housing associations, which are often unable to compete with larger entities for the funds available at the National Development Bank or other mechanisms, due to their lack of skilled personnel or competences allowing for completing and filling all necessary forms and undergoing the entire investment process.