Council’s Energy Efficiency Service here to help those affected by fuel poverty

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council wants to reach out to residents affected by fuel poverty this winter.

For many people, the pandemic has affected their income and lots of people are spending more time at home due to restrictions.

A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on energy costs. While Department for Communities estimates that this affects 160,000 households across Northern Ireland, this year the figure could be even higher.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Energy Efficiency Service, funded in partnership with the Public Health Agency, aims to combat this type of poverty which can have major implications on overall wellbeing.

Staff have already distributed all of this winter’s quota of Keep Warm packs to the vulnerable, those living with mobility issues and underlying health concerns.

Alongside this, grants are available for people who own their own home or for those renting privately (depending on personal circumstances) to address energy issues. Some are funded by the Department of Communities, as part of its Fuel Poverty Prevention Strategy, while others come from the Utility Regulator under its Energy Efficient Carbon Reduction Strategy.

These grants can help to create more energy efficient heating systems and thermally efficient homes that not only provide a more comfortable living environment but also reduce costs. It is estimated that a new oil condensing boiler will save a household an average of £200/300 per year and proper insulation can save on average £200 per year.

You may be eligible for a grant if any of the following applies to your home:

Heating Boiler over 15 years old

Boiler is broken beyond repair

Solid Fuel Heating only

Liquid Petroleum Gas heating only

Electric Heating only e.g. Economy 7

Single Glazed, poorly fitting or rotten windows

Less that 270mm {approx. 11 inches} depth of insulation in your attic

No cavity wall insulation

Grants can also be used to change from oil to gas when available subject to applicants meeting the relevant criteria.

Encouraging people to avail of the Energy Efficiency Service, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Mark Fielding said: “As temperatures drop, we don’t want any of our residents to suffer in silence. The impact of fuel poverty has been compounded by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and more people than ever before could be living with fuel poverty.

“This can have a serious adverse impact on physical and mental health but it’s important to recognise that Council officers are here to provide assistance through this vital support service.

“Everyone deserves to live in a warm and safe home and by working together we can get help to those who need it most.”

A Council spokesperson said: “Please telephone Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Energy Efficiency Officers Pat McGettigan on 0759536625 or Rachael Wauchope on 07841970330 to find out more and to see if you or someone you know could qualify for a grant to help improve the efficiency of home heating and ultimately reduce fuel costs.”

There’s more information about the Energy Efficiency Service on our website