I propose to take Questions Nos. 741 and 742 together.
The Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on behalf of my Department. The scheme provides free energy efficiency upgrades to the homes of people living in or at risk of energy poverty.
Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme applications are assessed as they are received by SEAI, regardless of county. Following the receipt of valid applications, SEAI arranges for surveys of the homes to be completed. SEAI generally carry out technical surveys of homes in the order in which the applications are received. However, to ensure greater efficiency in their delivery, sometimes it is necessary to wait for a group of applications before visiting an area.
Once surveyed, SEAI allocate these homes to one of the contractors on their panel, again taking account of the date of the application. SEAI ensure to the greatest extent possible that all applications have a similar waiting time.
Since the expansion of the scheme in 2018 to include ‘deeper’ measures such as external wall insulation and internal wall insulation, demand for the scheme is very high leading to longer waiting times for all applicants. Currently it can take between 9 and 12 months from the date a homeowner applies to the date a contractor is assigned to their home to carry out the works.