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 budget is to be made available from revenues arising from the increase in the carbon tax.
Even with increased budgets demand for the scheme is extremely high, reflecting the shift to deeper measures, and is impacted by longer delivery times associated with these types of works and the available budget. The homeowners on the waiting list have never received any form of free upgrade from SEAI under the scheme.
The Climate Action Plan includes a commitment to review ways to improve how current energy poverty schemes target those most in need. This review, which is due to be completed by the end of the year, will include a recommendation in relation to the issue of revisits for additional works under the Warmer Homes scheme.
The Warmth and Well-being scheme is a separate pilot scheme. Deeper measures have always been available to all eligible applicants under that scheme.