Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2301)

Róisín Shortall


2301. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the reason for continuing to exclude low-income pensioners from support for externally insulating their homes under the better energy warmer homes scheme on the grounds that they had earlier had their attic insulated under the scheme; the further reason in view of the fact that external insulation was not included in the scheme when the earlier work was done; if he will amend the terms of the scheme to enable pensioners in this situation to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and achieve energy savings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34514/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

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 135,000 homes have received free upgrades under the scheme, leaving the occupants better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level. The aim of the scheme is to deliver a range of energy efficiency measures in a way which represents the best possible use of Exchequer funding, focusing eligibility to those in receipt of certain payments from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, such as the Fuel Allowance, and limiting each home to one visit for an energy efficiency upgrade. Last year, the scheme was expanded. Subject to survey by SEAI and assessment of potential for improved energy performance, the scheme can, in certain circumstances, include internal or external wall insulation. This will permit the upgrade of more property types such as homes with solid walls, and also increase the energy savings and emissions reductions that the scheme can achieve and will also enable future fuel switching.

Demand for the scheme is extremely high, reflecting the shift to deeper measures, and is impacted by longer delivery times associated with these type of works and the delivery capacity of SEAI’s contractor panel.