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RP7: Lived Experience of Energy Vulnerability

This Research Package, led by Dr Tom Hargreaves (School of Environmental Sciences), explores qualitatively the responses of energy vulnerable households to the lived experience of energy system changes at the household level. In particular, this RP explores the interactions between energy vulnerable social housing tenants and a registered social landlord. Housing associations are seen as important agents in attempts to tackle fuel poverty, and have the ability to intervene to help their tenants in a number of ways. At the same time, existing research suggests that the agency of social housing tenants themselves is often constrained by a number of different factors.

The core research questions are:

1. What is the lived experience of energy vulnerability for social housing tenants and in what ways do they express agency in relation to their energy usage? What factors support or undermine their agency?

2.In what ways do housing associations intervene in the energy consumption of their tenants, and why? What impacts do different kinds of intervention have on the lived experience of energy vulnerability?

3. What are the wider implications for the role of housing associations and other actors in tacking fuel poverty?

The research will involve 15-20 semi-structured interviews with energy vulnerable households in Broadland Housing Association accommodation. Alongside this 5-10 interviews will be conducted with various staff members from Broadland Housing Association to explore the different organisational perspectives on fuel poverty and the ways in which they intervene as an organisation. A number of wider stakeholders will also be consulted to assess their views of the role of Housing Associations in addressing fuel poverty.

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