Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (504)

Niamh Smyth


504. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if his attention has been drawn to the delay in the provision of the warmer home grants due to increased demand; his views on whether the increased demand is due to a change in criteria; if funding will be allocated to meet the additional demand; if the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; if the application will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51296/19]

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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, who meet the defined eligibility criteria.

As Minister, I have no function in relation to individual applications. However officials in my Department have contacted SEAI and I am informed that the homeowner the Deputy is referring to submitted an application to the Warmer Homes Scheme on 23rd October 2019. Due to the current high demand and waiting list, SEAI hope to schedule the home for a technical survey in Q2 of 2020. The duration between applying for the scheme and having works carried out is currently averaging at 18 months.

Budget 2020 announced a budget allocation for the scheme of €52.8 million. This represents the biggest ever budget for the Warmer Homes Scheme – more than double the initial allocation for 2019.

Notwithstanding this increased budget for the scheme, the current very high level of demand does directly impact waiting times. The Climate Action Plan includes a commitment to review ways to improve how current energy poverty schemes target those most in need, including how to reduce waiting times. This review is due to be completed shortly.