Efficient tools for energy saving

Updated 02/14/2018

After eleven years, the Energy saving certificates (ESC) scheme will enter a fourth phase, a new step that will usher in new obligations more ambitious than ever.

Introduced by the government in 2005 as part of the program establishing the overall objectives and orientations of France’s energy policy, known as the POPE law, the scheme aimed at generating energy saving in isolated dwellings by compelling electricity, gas and fuel suppliers to encourage customers to reduce their energy consumption. “We were implicitly also urging suppliers to prepare themselves to sell less energy and more energy services in the near future,” explains Elodie Trauchessec, Coordinator of the ESC scheme at ADEME’s Climate department.

A constantly evolving scheme

Eleven years and three phases of obligation later, the scheme has considerably evolved, both in terms of energy saving objectives (going from 54 to 345, then 700 TWh cumac), stakeholders and operating rules. “The number of obligated parties has risen with the involvement of car fuel distributors since 2011,” explains Elodie Trauchessec. ” The range of eligible parties – institutions or individuals that can obtain ESCs for their energy saving actions – was restricted in order to simplify the management of the scheme: only local authorities, semi-public companies and local public businesses focused on energy efficiency, social housing landlords and the National housing improvement agency are now eligible. Alongside this, we’ve witnessed the rise of delegates, energy service companies that work directly with the obligated and eligible parties, in order to implement for themselves the various actions that can lead to an ESC.”

Fuel poverty: a growing issue

Last change to date: ”Since 1 January 2016, the scheme has included a new energy saving obligation dedicated to the fight against fuel poverty: 150 TWh cumac of saved energy to achieve before the end of 2017 for the exclusive benefit of low-in-come households,” explains Elodie Trauchessec. “In this framework, the obligated parties can now obtain a "Fuel poverty ESC" by carrying out targeted actions aimed at low-income households or by buying them on the market, as the ESC are subject to a different accounting and price than the "standard" ESC.” On May 2016, alongside the implementation of this new measure, the government launched a call for proposals to select new eligible support programs for the Fuel poverty ESC. In October, 12 winning projects were announced: nine programs tackling fuel poverty in housing; three others tackling fuel poverty in transport. Their focuses: raising awareness, informing and educating households experiencing fuel poverty about energy saving, and support for them to carry out ambitious energy renovation works or adapt their mobility. “For now, the obligated parties seem to be on the right track towards fulfilling their commitments”, says Elodie Trauchessec. “At the end of 2016, they had delivered one half of their fuel poverty obligation and most of their standard obligation.” This certainly bodes well for the fourth phase of the scheme which will start in January 2018, with new objectives.