Domestic Energy Efficiency Programme
Cabinet members will hear about the excellent work being done to support fuel-poor households in Flintshire and be asked to continue to support this work as a Council priority when they next meet on 17 March.
Welsh Government define a household as living in fuel poverty if they spend more than 10% of their income on energy costs and this is a priority area for action identified by Flintshire County Council. According to a survey commissioned by the Council in 2017, 20.7% of households were estimated to be in fuel poverty and 3.4% in severe fuel poverty. This was equivalent to the average rates for Wales as a whole at the time.
During the past five years, the Domestic Energy Efficiency Programme team has installed 600 energy efficiency measures in 4,000 properties in Flintshire – an investment of approximately £12m, saving residents over £1.2m each year. It also estimated that these measures will save over 123,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide during their operational lifetime.
Flintshire County Council’s Chief Officer for Planning, Environment and Economy, Andrew Farrow, said:
“The team has worked extremely hard to improve the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents. The service operates on a fee-earning basis, covering all of its operating costs by charging other organisations and funding bodies for the work that it does.
“They use a variety of methods to engage with eligible households – direct promotion, attendance at events, partnership working and word of mouth which is particularly important as the most vulnerable households have tended to be those least likely to approach the team to ask for help.”
The survey found that fuel poverty tended to be concentrated in lower income and in older households. The team works closely with these households to build their trust, apply for the correct mix of funding on their behalf (often enabling them to get the home improvements at no cost) and manage the improvement works through a Council appointed contractor. This intensive support process enables even the most vulnerable households to receive home improvements and reduce their risk of poverty and dramatically improve their quality of life.
Some of the comments from satisfied customers include:
- “the new heating system is luxurious with a capital L! I would not have made this Christmas without this help.”
- “The scheme is excellent. It’s made a lot of difference to me. With the onset of winter coming, I feel more secure now that the heating will work.”
The main programmes of work currently being delivered by the team include:
- extending the mains gas network (in conjunction with Wales and West Utilities) into Ffynnongroyw to enable residents to have the option of more efficient gas heating systems;
- supporting the delivery of the Welsh Government Arbed programme tackling fuel poverty in Mostyn and Penyffordd;
- improving the energy efficiency of Council houses and managing the gas boiler installation and replacement programme;
- delivering the Warm Homes Fund programme 2018-21 in Flintshire;
- installing £3m of energy efficient heating systems to fuel-poor households;
- modernising the heating systems in Clwyd Alyn Housing Association homes in Flintshire;
- supporting the Healthy Homes Healthy People programme being delivered by Warm Wales to link the energy programmes into wider programmes of support to meet household needs including health and income maximisation;
- providing advice on energy efficiency to households and advice on getting the best prices for energy from suppliers; and
- delivering a small crisis fund which funds improvements to the homes of the most vulnerable households where no other funding source can be identified.
The Domestic Energy Efficiency Programme team is part of a wider service restructure currently underway. The team will become a Housing Regeneration team which also addresses wider private sector housing condition and which delivers the Welsh Government home loans programme. This restructure will be completed in early 2020.