Causeway Chronicle

Council’s Energy Efficiency Service could help those struggling with fuel poverty

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is reminding residents about its Energy Efficiency service ahead of Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, which takes place on 30 November, 2023.

The current cost-of-living crisis means that even more households are now experiencing fuel poverty, and as a result are struggling to keep their homes warm or cook healthy meals.

For some people, this might be the first time they find themselves in this position and it’s important to know that guidance, support and practical assistance is available.

A household is said to be in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on energy costs.

The University of York’s Social Policy Unit forecasts a fuel poverty level in Northern Ireland of 71.7% — the worst of all the UK regions.

This is significantly worse than the UK average of 55.8%. The prediction equates to 551,000 households, or 1,419,000 people, struggling to heat their homes in Northern Ireland.

There are three factors which impact on fuel poverty:

  1. income
  2. the cost of energy
  3. the domestic energy efficiency of the home

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.

Already this winter, officers have distributed ‘Keep Warm’ packs to the vulnerable and those living with mobility issues or underlying health concerns, but other help is available.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Steven Callaghansaid: “If you’re struggling to afford to heat your home during the winter months help could be at hand. There are several organisations in Causeway Coast and Glens that may be able to help. 

“To find out ‘Where to Turn’, click here for details of supports available in Causeway Coast and Glens.”

Some grants 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 given the rising cost of oil, a new oil condensing boiler will save a household an average of £500 – £600 per year.

Proper insulation of a hot water cylinder could lead to an average saving of £100 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 (approximately 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, this is subject to applicants meeting the relevant criteria. 

Please call Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Energy Efficiency Officers Pat McGettigan on 07759536625 or Rachael Wauchope on 07841970330 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.

You can find out more information about Council’s Energy Efficiency Service, along with information about other support avenues including foodbanks and advice centres, at https://www.causewaycoastandglens.gov.uk/live/advice-services

Causeway Chronicle

Causeway Chronicle