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, who meet the defined eligibility criteria. The initial Warmer Homes Scheme budget allocation for 2019 was €24 million. However, following a mid-year capital review conducted by my Department and SEAI, and acknowledging the pressure on the scheme from increased demand the budget was increased to €39.8 million for 2019. Budget 2020 announced further increases in the budget for the scheme to €52.8 million. The additional allocation is to be made available from revenues arising from the increase in the carbon tax.
Notwithstanding increased budgets for the scheme, the current very high level of demand does directly impact waiting times. This is partly due to changes to the scheme introduced in June 2018 which expanded and enhanced the range of energy efficiency measures available to include ‘deeper’ measures which are more expensive and take longer to install.
These deeper measures can include external or internal wall insulation, central heating and replacement windows when the technical assessment considers them necessary. Managing the enhanced package of measures has required careful monitoring and programme management by SEAI within available resources.