In conversation with David Cis

  • April 17, 2019

Accessible contact point with personal approach

Have you always dreamt of an independent energy expert who will advise you at home for free and will personally guide you intensively? For citizens of Ghent this dream is reality, thanks to the Energiecentrale. A non-profit organization that wants to be there for everyone. Also for those who have less room to invest in energy efficiency. BE REEL! spoke with their coordinator: David Cis.

David Cis (39) is a graduated social assistant and a political scientist from Aalst who enjoys reading, playing football and eating out. Before he became coordinator at the Energiecentrale, he helped people who have difficulties to deal with their budget. From his work at the regionaal welzijnsoverleg (RWO), he mainly retained a broad view of the welfare sector.

What does the job of a coordinator at Energiecentrale consists of?

Cis“It is important to know that the Energiecentrale is a brand name for an integrated range of services. The Energiecentrale actually consists of the non-profit organization Regent, which cooperates with the Environment and Climate department of the city of Ghent. These two shape our operation. I am coordinator of the non-profit organization Regent. As coordinator, I manage and coordinate its activities. I am responsible for monitoring and I evaluate the objectives and give advice.

In addition, I am of course also the operational manager. I ensure that the daily operation runs. In addition, I lead, coach and motivate employees. We are a relatively small team of 15 employees, supplemented by employees from the Environment and Climate department.

We have a fantastic team that consists of motivated colleagues, always willing to stand in for each other. The tasks of the team members have an important dependence, so that the activities complement each other. This interdependence of the members promotes functioning as a team.

In brief, you can say that in addition to a very important social skill, it is also essential to be a team player.

As far as my own skills are concerned, you should not only be able to plan and organize. You also have to be flexible. My biggest professional asset is perhaps that I am hands-on. And of course communication is certainly important.

At the Energiecentrale, we put the customer first, starting from the vision: what does the customer want? We tune our services to that. ”


What should our readers know about the Energiecentrale?

“That in the first place we want to be an accessible contact point for energy-efficient living and renovating for all Ghent residents. Our service consists of renovation advice and guidance. We visit people free of charge and assist them independently with tailor-made advice on energy-saving interventions.”

The road towards energetic renovation

“People experience different thresholds that prevent them from implementing energy-saving measures. There is a wide range of policy instruments and initiatives, which makes it unclear for the customer. For example, we are accredited as BENovatiecoach, as Energiehuis for providing the Flemish energy loan and we are allowed to offer energy scans. We provide renovation advice and promote social energy efficiency projects. We communicate all of this in one integrated package of renovation advice at home. We are doing this through different channels with the message: we will visit you for free, listen to your question and relieve you as much as possible. After a renovation advice, the same expert takes on the further guidance of the customer. Our experts help the customer with the choice of procedures, make an estimate of the cost of the works and the possible financing options and premiums. Together with the customers, we request various quotations and adjust where necessary. Regarding the premiums, the customer does not have to worry about what to submit to whom and so. We also help with this.

We can reach vulnerable families through intermediaries such as CPAS.

We have a list of contractors through an open call. We request three tenders, compare them and then discuss them with the customer. Finally, we monitor the works: have the works been carried out as agreed? Are there delays? Of course, the customer can also propose a contractor himself.

Our target group is therefore, as I have already said, all Ghent residents. . We offer our services for all private homes, rental homes and apartments. For the latter it is thanks to BE REEL! that we can experiment to get things into gear. "

Vulnerable families

The Energiecentrale also focuses on vulnerable families. When I think of "vulnerable", I think mainly in terms of prosperity. Does that cover the load?

“It is much wider than that. I am thinking, for example, of single people with a family burden who have hardly any budgetary room every month to invest in the energy efficiency of their home, so that their energy bill will fall. ”

How do you reach those vulnerable families? Are they your main focus?

“Our services are accessible to everyone, we make no distinction in the range. The unburdening approach must lead to an increase in energy efficiency in homes of vulnerable families. In this way we focus on the prevention and fight against energy poverty among vulnerable families.

We will, however, coordinate our communication resources with the various target groups. We know from experience that we can reach vulnerable families better through intermediaries such as the social rental offices and CPAS.

We visit you free of charge.

We also use a variety of digital resources such as our website and social media. We also try to be visible in the streets, in the cinema, on the radio, etc. This means that people from Ghent have already heard from us and contact us at the right time.

Throughout the renovation supervision we take into account the self-reliance of our customers and we diversify in terms of unburdening. ”

How do you convince vulnerable families? The financial incentive?

“The fact that the service is free is of course a bonus, but I think we mainly convince those families with tailor-made solutions and unburdening. The personal aspect is very important."

Thank you for this conversation.

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