Helping disadvantaged households in Marseille overcome fuel poverty

The Rexel Foundation supports GERES in its fight against fuel poverty, for social integration and inclusion.

Aix-Marseille (France)
2019 to 2020


Project description

In 2018, nearly 12% of France’s population lived in fuel poverty, which is defined as an imbalance between the disposable revenue of disadvantaged families and their energy bills. This situation impacts many isolated women and single parent families. The direct consequences of fuel poverty are debt, social withdrawal or exclusion, and a negative impact on health from exposure to cold and mold.

In the PACA (Provence Côte d’Azur) region, the tight housing market pushes poorer households into energy-consuming accommodations with inexistent or inefficient, poorly insulated and poorly maintained heating and cooling systems.

With its nearly 15-year experience in supporting vulnerable households’ fight against fuel poverty, Geres rolls out complex field actions requiring the cooperation of numerous and complementary stakeholders. Its role is also to train and hone the expertise of those in close contact with the beneficiary households via experience-sharing.

This project, supported by the Rexel Foundation, builds on the expertise previously developed by Geres. It aims at empowering vulnerable households, and especially women, in the Aix-Marseille conurbation, to help them overcome fuel poverty.


Project roll-out

The project includes several actions targeting the needs of households living in fuel poverty. Among these are home visits, which allow the NGO teams to identify the hurdles these households face, inform them of the available solutions and subsidies, help them renovate their homes, support them in their job-seeking initiatives, and more.

These actions are coupled with the development of a fund to cover essential repairs and having renovation works performed by a subsidized employment company. This part of the project ensures that the costliest and most urgent renovations are executed at a reasonable price, while also supporting people engaged in an occupational integration program. 


Project outcome

The project aims to establish positive territory-wide momentum around energy including local actors and households via individual or community actions. This local fabric will contribute to empowering families by helping them gain a better understanding of their role and of the impact of their habits, as well as by improving the way they manage their energy consumption. 

Finally, the health-related aspects will also be addressed by raising the awareness of health professionals regarding fuel poverty to widen the whistleblower network that helps identify vulnerable households, as well as by mobilizing households and landlords in order to improve the energy-related health conditions within the accommodations.

Beyond the actions run with local actors, Geres will share its experience and methodologies with a consortium of peer Mediterranean actors, and will offer its recommendations to regional, national, and international bodies to help accelerate the energy transition of all Mediterranean territories.

More details on the project (in French) 


More on Geres

Created in 1976, Geres – Group for the Environment, Renewable Energy and Solidarity – is an international development NGO working to improve community living conditions, reduce fuel poverty, and fight against climate change and its impact. As a field actor, it considers the energy transition to be one of its primary means of action. To drive ambitious social change, Geres encourages the development and dissemination of innovative local solutions, supports climate and energy territorial policies, and mobilizes all stakeholders for Climate Solidarity by encouraging them to take action to support the most vulnerable.

The approach of Geres, which is open to cooperation with companies and local authorities, aims to turn beneficiaries into actors in the development of their territories through experience sharing, knowledge transfer, and technology ownership.

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