Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Seán Ó Fearghaíl (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
Question 390: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if there are applications for the warmer homes scheme operated by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland made in 2010 by applicants in County Kildare that have not yet been approved or if approved have not been carried out; the reason such delays are occurring in County Kildare; if he will indicate the number of cases outstanding in County Kildare since 2010 or earlier; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7640/12]
Pat Rabbitte (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South West, Labour)
Better Energy: Warmer Homes delivers a range of energy efficiency measures to households that are vulnerable to energy poverty with a total of 20,388 being addressed in 2011. The scheme is managed on behalf of my Department by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and delivered through a range of Community Based Organisations (CBOs), augmented by a panel of private contractors in order to ensure national coverage.
In 2010, 1,318 homes were completed in County Kildare, with a further 377 completions in 2011. Of the four homes outstanding since 2010 in Kildare, the SEAI has not been able to make contact with two of the homes, resulting in one cancellation to date.
One further home only proved eligibility in October 2011 and was formally added to the waiting list at that time. The final home has been confirmed as eligible for the scheme and has been scheduled for survey. The SEAI further advises that as of 31 December 2011 there were 216 applicants from County Kildare on the waiting list.
2012 will mark a shift in emphasis on the Better Energy: Warmer Homes scheme to take account of the Government’s Affordable Energy Strategy, which I launched last November. Heretofore, applicants were considered eligible for retrofit measures if they met defined criteria, such as eligibility for the National Fuel Scheme. All successful applicants were placed on a waiting list and addressed in rotation. The focus in 2012 will shift to addressing those households considered in extreme energy poverty as a priority; such households typically spend over 20% of their disposable income on energy services. This will ensure that those most in need receive the benefit of energy efficiency measures first.