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A Vision for Change

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (19)

Darren O'Rourke


19. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications if he will prepare an updated strategy to combat energy poverty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53683/21]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Energy poverty or fuel poverty is influenced by a person’s income, the energy efficiency of their home and the cost of the energy they use in their home. The Government’s Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty was published in 2016 and good progress has been made including:

- Funding for SEAI's free energy poverty retrofit schemes has increased dramatically over the period from €15 million in 2015 to €109 million for 2022;

- The Housing for All Strategy has committed to introducing minimum Building Energy Ratings for rented properties;

- The allocations for retrofit of social housing have also increased significantly with an allocation of €85 million for 2022.

- A range of schemes to assist low-income households with energy costs are also available from the Department of Social Protection. Budget 2022 has provided for a €5 increase to the Fuel Allowance to €33 per week, as well as an extension of the eligibility criteria for the payment.

Research published in 2016 found that 28% of households in Ireland would need to spend more than 10% of their income on their energy needs. More recently, the ESRI carried out an analysis of the number of households at risk of experiencing energy poverty. This showed that the share of households needing to spend more than 10% of their income on their energy needs was 17.5% in 2020. The Survey on Income and Living Conditions indicates that the proportion of people who report that they are unable to afford to keep the home adequately warm, has fallen from 9% in 2015 to 4.9% in 2019.

A review of the implementation of the Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty will be completed early next year and will inform next steps in relation to the development of a new strategy. Measures to support those least able to afford to retrofit their homes will also be included in the new National Retrofit Plan which will be published shortly.