Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Warmer Homes Scheme
247. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number on the waiting list for the warmer homes scheme in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44325/20]
The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). The scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to low income households vulnerable to energy poverty. To date over 142,000 homes have received free upgrades under the scheme, leaving the occupants better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level. Budget 2021 provided €109 million in capital funding to support lower income households to retrofit their homes with €100 million of this funding allocated to the Warmer Homes Scheme. This represents a €47 million increase on the 2020 allocation and is the highest ever budget for the scheme. There are currently over 7,000 homes on the Warmer Homes Scheme work programme. 284 of these homes are in County Wexford. This includes homes that are: currently undergoing works; have been allocated to contractors for works; have completed an initial home survey and are awaiting allocation to a contractor, or are awaiting the initial survey of their home. Eligible homes are allocated on a first come, first served basis, and the average time between application and allocation to a contractor is now 22 months. The wait time is a result of strong demand for what is an extremely popular scheme. The work programme was also negatively impacted by Covid-19, particularly between March and June when the scheme was fully paused in line with Government guidelines.
In addition to the increased budget, capacity by the industry to deliver more activity has also increased due to a new, broader contractor panel to provide works which commenced last month. Recommendations on the implementation of changes to the scheme to better target those most in need will also be finalised shortly.