Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has today announced a series of measures designed to help alleviate fuel poverty whilst at the same time increase demand for energy efficient home improvements.
In his speech, Nick Clegg announced that under the forthcoming Green Deal and the associated Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) at least £540m of funding will be made available to provide free or subsidised energy efficient home improvements to households suffering from fuel poverty.
“We will be requiring energy companies to provide an estimated £1.3bn a year of support for energy efficiency in our homes, with at least £540m to fund energy saving improvements in the worst-off homes” Nick Clegg said. “It is shameful the UK still has so many families unable to heat their homes. By delivering lasting improvements, each year this money will help 180,000 of the poorest households make their homes cheaper to heat for good.”
Also today, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced that £190m a year would be targeted at around 270,000 households in low-income areas, providing them with free loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. Meanwhile, the eligibility criteria determining which households will qualify for free and subsidised energy efficient improvements on offer through the ECO Affordable Warmth Scheme have been relaxed to ensure that low-income families on working tax credits also qualify.
And in another move that will be welcomed by the home improvement industry, the Government confirmed that hard to treat homes with solid walls or narrow cavities in their external walls will now be eligible for the ECO scheme. This move should allow firms to offer free or subsidised energy efficient home improvements to an additional 3.2 million homes. Additionally, those energy companies which exceed their targets under the existing Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) prior to them being phased out in the autumn will be able to count this over-performance towards their ECO targets.
A spokeswoman from the DECC added that “We did not want everything to stop because energy companies had hit their targets before the Green Deal and ECO launched. This way we can ensure a smooth transition into the Green Deal scheme.”
These latest announcements follow months of debate over the government’s Green Deal Initiative and the associated Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) that has seen it face criticism from media, the building industry and Labour MPs for failing to provide sufficient information about the schemes ahead of their launch.
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