Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
92. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the allowances that can be made for families who, due to the delay in finalising their Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland grant application, no longer fall into the warmer homes energy upgrade categories; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32044/22]
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 lower income households vulnerable to energy poverty. To date over 145,000 homes have received free upgrades under the scheme leaving them better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level.Applications under SEAI schemes are an operational matter for the SEAI. As Minister, I have no function with regard to individual grant applications.
Households who are in receipt of the following Department of Social Protection payments are eligible to apply:- Fuel Allowance;
- Job Seekers Allowance for more than six months (and having children under 7);
- Working Family Payment;
- One-Parent Family Payment;
- Disability Allowance for more than six months (and having children under 7);
- Domiciliary Care Allowance;
- Carer’s Allowance where you live with the person you are caring for.
The eligibility criteria for the scheme were selected as they represented those areas where the limited resources available to the scheme could have the greatest impact. They are kept under review with the Department of Social Protection to ensure they are consistent with and complementary to the other income support schemes offered by that Department. All grant schemes have terms and conditions in place to ensure the transparent administration of public funds. These terms and conditions must be adhered to consistently by SEAI to ensure fairness as well as value for money for the Exchequer.
In February, the Government approved a package of supports to make it easier and more affordable for homeowners to undertake home energy upgrades, for warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes, with lower energy bills. Included in these measures is the establishment of the new National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme, offering increased grant levels of up to 50% of the cost of a typical B2 home energy upgrade with a heat pump (up form the current level of 30-5%).
As part of the supports announced, Government is clear that it is important that households that want to undertake a deep retrofit but do not have the financial means to carry out the upgrade in a single project, should be supported at the enhanced grant levels. For that reason, many of the new grant rates available under the National Home Energy Upgrade Scheme are also now available under the Better Energy Homes Scheme allowing homeowners to take a step-by-step approach or self-manage their project.
Furthermore, it is crucial that homeowners that do not have the financial means to carry out a deep retrofit but are not eligible for free upgrades under the Warmer Homes Scheme are also supported. This is particularly important at the present time of exceptionally high energy prices facing consumers. Therefore, to support homeowners, grant rates for cavity wall and ceiling insulation have been increased significantly to cover approximately 80% of the typical cost of these measures and will be available to all homeowners whose houses were built before 2011. There are no income eligibility criteria for these grants.
Further information is available on SEAI's website: www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/insulation-grants/.
93. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied) who has long been experiencing issues with their Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland application and who has since been taken off the list; if he will request his officials to review the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32093/22]
The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is funded by my Department and administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Applications under the SEAI grant schemes are an operational matter for the SEAI. As Minister, I have no function with regard to individual grant applications.
SEAI provides a dedicated enquiry service to Oireachtas members at the following email firstname.lastname@example.org.