Tuesday, 21 June 2022
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
I propose to take Questions Nos. 95 and 96 together. I propose to take Question Nos 95 and 96 together.
The Electricity Costs (Domestic Electricity Accounts) Emergency Measures Act 2022 established a scheme for the making in 2022, of a once-off Electricity Costs Emergency Benefit Payment to each domestic electricity account, having regard to the exceptional rise in energy prices. The credit of €176.22 (excluding VAT) is being applied to all domestic electricity accounts through April, May and June, and includes prepay meters.
As of 27 May 2022, 2,129,832 domestic electricity customers have been credited, with 1,845,142 of these customers having been notified via a line item on their bill or prepayment vend receipt. This means 99% of all eligible customers have now had the credit applied to their account.
Per section 4(1)(b) of the Act, ESB Networks submitted an estimate to the Minister as to the number of domestic electricity accounts for the purposes of the scheme.
As per section 2(3)(c) of the Act, the Minister estimated the amount to be allocated under paragraph 2(3)(a) of the Act, based on an estimated 2.25 domestic electricity accounts. Per section 2(3)(b) this amount was not to exceed €400 million.
Based on an estimated 2.25 million domestic electricity accounts, the estimated cost of the scheme was €379,347,208.02. This was transferred to ESB Networks, in accordance with section 3(1) of the Act. Per section 4(1)(f) ESB Networks transferred monies to each electricity supplier to be used by the suppliers in accordance with section 5(1)(b) of the Act. Per section 5(1)(d) of the Act, suppliers are to repay to the distribution system operator any monies received by it in accordance with paragraph 5(1)(a) that have not been used for the purpose of making electricity costs emergency benefit payments and keep records of any such repayments.
The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme delivers free energy upgrades for eligible homeowners in low-income households who are most at risk of energy poverty. It is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). Since the start of the scheme in 2000, over 145,000 free upgrades have been supported by the scheme. In 2021, the average cost of the energy efficiency measures provided per household had increased to €17,620.Free upgrades available under the Warmer Homes Scheme are available to households who are in receipt of certain Department of Social Protection payments such as:- Fuel Allowance as part of the National Fuel Scheme;
- 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 administration and management of applications under the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) schemes are an operational matter for the SEAI. As Minister, I have no function with regard to individual grant applications. The SEAI has established a specific email address for queries from Oireachtas members so that such queries can be addressed promptly, in line with SEAI’s objective to deliver services to the highest standards. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information on the Warmer Homes Scheme is available at www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/free-upgrades-for-eligible-homes or by contacting SEAI directly at 01-8082004.