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What is the Affordable Warmth Scheme?

The Affordable Warmth Scheme is the Department for Communities’ Scheme for addressing fuel poverty in the Private Sector. It is being delivered across Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department by the Housing Executive and the local Councils.

Who is eligible for assistance?

If you live in the Private Sector (in other words if you own your own home or if you rent from a Private Sector landlord) and have a total gross annual household income of less than £20,000, you may be entitled to help under the Scheme.

How do I apply?

This is a strictly targeted scheme. The Department has provided information to all of the new councils detailing the main fuel poverty concentrations within each council area.

Councils will:

• make the initial contact with households considered to be most affected by fuel poverty and invite them to complete a short survey;

• refer completed surveys to the Housing Executive; and

• where a householder agrees, refer their details to the Social Security Agency’s ‘Make the Call’ team for a Benefit Entitlement Check to be completed.

Staff from the local councils will visit addresses in those areas over the next three years to help householders take part in the Scheme so you do not have to do anything. However, you can contact your local council directly to see if you might be eligible for assistance.

What Help is available?

There is a range of energy efficiency measures available under the Affordable Warmth Scheme.

The provision of measures will be prioritised as follows to maximise the energy efficiency gains from the measures provided:

Priority 1 – Insulation/Ventilation/Draughtproofing

• Installation or topping up of Loft Insulation to 275mm;

• Roof/Loft/Eaves ventilation;

• Provision of hot water cylinder jacket;

• Draught proofing of doors/windows;

• Installation of cavity wall insulation;

• Removal and replacement of ineffective cavity wall insulation.

Priority 2 – Heating

• Provision of natural gas or oil central heating where no central heating exists;  conversion of solid fuel/LPG/economy 7 to natural gas or oil;

• Conversion of economy 7 to high efficiency electrical storage system;

• Boiler replacement/system upgrade for householders over 65, or who have a child under 16 years of age, or who receive disability living allowance and where an existing central heating boiler is at least 15 years old;

Priority 3 – Windows

• Replacement of single glazed windows.

• Repair or replacement of double glazed windows that are defective.

Priority 4 – Solid Wall Measures

• Provision of solid wall (internal/external) insulation.

Measures will be offered to successful applicants strictly in line with the prioritisation set out above. That means that your house will be inspected first of all to determine if any insulation measures are required. Then the inspection will consider if the existing heating in your house needs to be changed. You will only be offered help to repair/upgrade windows once it has been determined that your home does not need any insulation or heating measures. However, due to the cost of insulating solid wall properties, you will be permitted to complete other measures such as heating without having to complete solid wall insulation first.

Advice

If you are offered the opportunity to install measures from more than one priority group, you should complete the measures in line with the priority rating above. If you choose not to carry out any of the measures, you will not be allowed to transfer the allocated approval amount to other measures. You will forfeit that portion of your grant.

How do I know what work I can do?

A surveyor from your local council will visit your home and ask you some questions to ensure that you are eligible for the Scheme.  Your details will then be passed to the Housing Executive, who will arrange to have officers visit your home. They will need to see documentary proof that you own your home and that your income is less than £20,000 per year. They will also inspect your home to assess what energy efficiency measures your home needs.

After the visit from the Housing Executive and if you are entitled to help under the Scheme, you will be given a Schedule of Works which will identify the measures you are permitted to install along with a formal certificate of approval to start the works. You may not carry out any works without that approval.

Graham and his team carried out my oil to gas conversion just before lockdown in early March. They did an excellent job. Very reliable and hassle free and all work carried out for a very fair price.I would highly recommend Graham and his team.

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