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

Are you struggling with heating and energy costs this winter?

To mark Fuel Poverty Awareness Day which takes place today (Friday, December 3) Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council wants to remind people about its Energy Efficiency Service which could make a positive difference in your home.

Funded in partnership with the Public Health Agency, it aims to tackle fuel poverty and reduce its impact on the wellbeing of our residents. A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on energy costs. The Department for Communities estimates that this affects 160,000 households across Northern Ireland.

For many people, the ongoing pandemic has affected their income, and with recent price rises and many of us spending more time at home due to changing working practices, the number of people struggling with fuel poverty this year may be higher than ever.

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council,Cllr Richard Holmes

Encouraging anyone in need to contact the Energy Efficiency Service, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Richard Holmes said: “With the return of winter it is vital that residents of the Borough do not to suffer in silence.

“Fuel poverty can have a serious adverse impact on physical and mental health, and this is even more significant as we continue to feel the effects of the pandemic on our lives.

“Everyone deserves to live in a warm and safe home and this Fuel Poverty Day I want to remind everyone that Council is here to help through this vital support service.”

Alongside this, grants to address energy issues are available for people who own their own home or for those renting privately (depending on personal circumstances). 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.

Please note that 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.

To find out if you or someone you know could qualify for a grant to help improve the efficiency of home heating and ultimately reduce fuel costs, telephone Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Energy Efficiency Officers Pat McGettigan on 07759536625 or Rachael Wauchope on 07841970330

More information about the Energy Efficiency Service can be found on our website www.causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk