Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
143. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of warmer home scheme applications received, completed and disallowed in the past five years in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38781/21]
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 143,000 homes have received free upgrades under the scheme, leaving the occupants better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level. The approximate average value of the energy efficiency measures provided to households under the Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme was €14,800 in 2020A total of €221.5 million in capital funding has been provided for SEAI residential and community retrofit schemes in 2021. Of this amount, €109 million is provided to support lower income households to retrofit their homes, with €100 million allocated to the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme. This represents an increase of €47 million on the 2020 allocation for energy poverty schemes and means that almost half of the total SEAI residential and community retrofit budget will support people vulnerable to energy poverty. The funding will mean that more households can receive free energy efficiency upgrades making their homes warmer, healthier and cheaper to run, in line with the Programme for Government.
The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the number of warmer home scheme applications received, completed and ineligible in the past five years has been provided by the SEAI and is set out in the Table below:
|Warmer Homes Scheme||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021**|
* Data from mid-2019 only due to new system implementation. Historical data not available.
**2021 figures to end June 2021.
***The SEAI uses the term "ineligible" rather than "disallowed" to classify applications which were not successful in meeting the eligibility requirements of the scheme.
It is important to note that the number of retrofits last year were unfortunately, negatively impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions. Enhanced COVID restrictions between January and April also had a significant impact on activity this year. Every effort is being made to maximise activity now that construction activity in the residential sector has recommenced.
144. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has lifted the restriction which applies to persons getting a second round of support under the warmer homes scheme in cases in which the previous support had only been for shallow measures such as roof insulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38797/21]
The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to low income households vulnerable to energy poverty. In order to qualify for support, applicants must own and live in their home which was built and occupied before 2006 and must be in receipt of certain social welfare payments.
To date, over 143,000 homes have received free upgrades under the scheme, leaving the occupants better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level. There are currently over 7,800 homes on the Warmer Homes work programme and the scheme operates nationally on a first come, first serve basis. These homes have not previously received any free upgrades under the scheme and for that reason are the priority to receive upgrades. Recommendations on the implementation of changes to the scheme to better target those most in need will be finalised shortly.
The total budget for energy poverty schemes in 2021 is €109 million with €100 million allocated to the Warmer Homes Scheme. This represents a €47 million increase for the scheme when compared to 2020. In addition to the increased budget allocation, delivery capacity has increased due to a new, broader contractor panel that commenced at the end of 2020. I have also secured additional resources this year to expand the capacity of the SEAI to deliver the scheme.