Householders hit as energy grants slashed by 20pc
GRANTS to make homes warmer and cheaper to heat have been slashed by 20pc.
Individual householders will get less for insulation and boilers -- even though an extra €30m was included in the recent 'jobs initiative' to make homes more energy efficient.
The Consumers Association of Ireland said some hard-pressed householders would now be priced out of the scheme.
"These cuts are disappointing and could be a major disincentive to people who were considering upgrades," chief executive Dermott Jewell said.
The grant for cavity wall insulation has been cut from €400 to €320. For a high-efficiency boiler with upgraded heating controls, it is down from €700 to €560, and for heating controls alone it is down from €500 to €400.
For a Building Energy Rating, the grant has been cut from €100 to €80; and for internal wall insulation, it has been reduced from €2,500 to €2,000.
The Department of Energy said the new lower grants, under the Better Energy Scheme introduced this month, were set to reflect market prices.
The grant levels for the previous Home Energy Saving scheme had been set at around 30pc of the typical cost of the work. However, the department said this price data was from 2009 and was now out of date.
The extra spending on the scheme in 2011 -- up from €30m to €60m -- would allow more households to benefit, including more than 20,000 low-income families who would receive the upgrades free of charge.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which administers the scheme, had received 3,000 phonecalls and more than 1,200 applications since the announcement of the new scheme -- a considerable increase on previous activity levels.
The SEAI said homeowners who had submitted grant applications under the old scheme before it closed on May 9 would receive payments at the old rate.
The Construction Industry Federation said that while prices for these energy efficiency upgrades had come down, they were concerned some of this could be going into the black economy.