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Saturday 16 December 2017

Pay plan will help us warm to home insulation

Paul Melia

HOMEOWNERS will be able to insulate their houses at no immediate cost and pay back the money through their electricity bills under new government plans.

Electricity companies will cover the cost of installing insulation and more efficient boilers in homes, as part of new measures aimed at cutting bills for more than one million homeowners.

The money will then be paid back over a period of time.

The Irish Independent has learned that the Government is to introduce the 'Save as You Pay' scheme early next year.

The Department of Energy said yesterday the scheme was among measures to help reduce energy consumption.

Low-interest loans for the insulation scheme will also be available from Bank of Ireland and AIB, while government grants for the work will be paid directly to suppliers to reduce the cost to homeowners of carrying out the works.

Since 2007, nearly 90,000 homes have been insulated with the help of government grants, but it is planned to upgrade one million homes by 2020.

Yesterday, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) warned that unless new financing methods were made available, the number of homeowners choosing to upgrade their houses would fall.

"Most of the people coming to us have some money of their own," chief operating officer Dr Brian Motherway said.

"Our grants provide about one-third of the cost, but people are using their own savings and that obviously limits the audience. The question is how do you reach the people who don't have the money?

"We've spent €50m in just 18 months retrofitting 65,000 homes. Broadly speaking, a once-in-a-lifetime retrofit would cost €10,000 to €12,000."

The Department of Energy last night confirmed that three financing methods would be launched in the new year, with some details yet to be finalised.


The first is the Save as You Pay Scheme -- which would see utility companies paying for the works, and customers would then repay the cost on their bills.

The second scheme would involve the state grants being paid directly to the supplier, meaning the cost for the homeowner would be cheaper.

The third would require low-interest loans to be made available from Bank of Ireland and AIB to fund the works.

Last night, Energy Minister Eamon Ryan said the new financing methods would make it easier for people to "do the right thing".

More than 1,000 grants were being approved every week, SEAI said, and 5,000 people were employed retrofitting houses.

Irish Independent

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