Tuesday, 25 June 2019
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
609. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if funding for the SEAI deep retrofit pilot scheme has run out; if so, when further funding will become available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26731/19]
610. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of applications received for the SEAI deep retrofit pilot scheme; the number of applications with works completed; the number of applications outstanding in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26732/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 609 and 610 together.
The Deep Retrofit Pilot Scheme was set up to investigate the challenges and opportunities associated with providing deeper retrofits to the residential sector. The Scheme is providing vital, on the ground, evidence of how to overcome the technical and economic challenge of deep retrofit, especially the practical advice and support a householder needs to undertake it. This will help homes achieve an A3 building rating by incorporating works such as insulation, ventilation, window replacement and renewable heating technologies. The results will provide insights into the potential costs of upgrading the building stock, as a greater range of building archetypes are upgraded under the scheme.
Table 1 below sets out the number of project applications received by the SEAI since 2017. It is important to note that each project application is through a service provider and must include 5 or more houses. This approach is taken in order to incorporate an element of aggregation and maximise the learnings from the pilot.
Table 1 - Number of Deep Retrofit Projects 2017-2019
The projects "under evaluation" category includes complete applications that are being evaluated as well as applications that are incomplete or not in a position to be proposed for approval.
Table 2 below outlines the number of individual homes within the project applications.
Table 2 - Number of Deep Retrofit Homes 2017-2019
As evident from both tables, there has been a sustained increase in demand for the scheme as a direct result of the increased and positive dialogue now being engaged in across Irish society regarding climate change.
In 2018, the pilot scheme provided grants to homeowners to the value of €4.7m. This year I have allocated €7m to the scheme. At end May 2019, €1m had been paid out in grants. As projects are completed further grants will be drawn down and I expect the full allocation to be spent by year end.
The recently published Climate Action Plan sets highly ambitious targets of 500,000 retrofits as well as the installation of 400,000 heat pumps in existing homes. The lessons learned from the Deep Retrofit Pilot will be of great assistance in designing the policies and approaches required to deliver this target.
612. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a person has the right to have a smart meter on his or her property removed after it has been installed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26762/19]
The Smart Meter Upgrade is a key building block in enabling consumers to participate in the low carbon transition as outlined in the recently published Climate Action Plan. The programme will result in the upgrade of 2.4 million meters to modern, smart-ready technology.
Like all equipment, meters for measuring gas or electricity use require replacement over time and as older brands and models cease to be available, newer technology enables improvements in services and greater efficiencies in meter reading. Smart meters are the next generation electricity meters and will replace older mechanical meters. The question seems to imply a return to mechanical meters that will ultimately be obsolete and no longer available.
When smart meters are fully operational, consumers will have a choice to be provided with more accurate information about energy usage across the day to allow them to better manage bills with greater accuracy than at present. This information can also help consumers to make more informed choices about their electricity consumption and tariff selection.
Currently, electricity meters are manually read by ESB Networks up to four times per year. Smart Meters are able to automatically send meter readings so there will be no need for estimated bills.
New products and services will enable customers to avail of cheaper electricity by managing their energy demand, through the use of night rates or other behavioural signals.
Smart meters will also support the migration to a carbon free electricity network and will support smart grids, the electrification of heat and transport, local renewable generation and microgeneration.
ESB Networks will commence the meter replacement programme in autumn 2019. The plan is to replace 250,000 meters between autumn 2019 and the end of 2020 and a further 500,000 meters every year from 2021 to 2024.