IT is hoped that the latest version of an anti-fuel poverty scheme will help people keep their houses warm this winter.
At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday, October 11, councillors discussed ECO4 flex, which is the latest version of the scheme that delivers energy efficiency and heating measures to homes.
Deputy council leader, Cllr Matthew Dorrance said:
“Tackling poverty and the climate emergency are pressing priorities, the adoption of ECO4 flex in Powys is an important tool to enable us to work towards those ambitions.
“We’ve learnt from previous schemes and work with Warm Wales to improve the offer for people in Powys.
“The latest version will allow more people to access this vital support, compared to its predecessors it’s eligibility includes some non-means tested benefits and health conditions.”
Cllr Iain McIntosh told the cabinet that he had received a letter from a resident who was “concerned” they had not been able to apply for anything so far.
Cllr McIntosh said: “I’m delighted this is being proposed but my concern is that as this has only been announced now, is it going to be done in time for people to get anything this winter.”
Cllr Dorrance said: “It’s an absolute priority for us to accelerate the roll out, get more people in Powys eligible for the scheme and ensure those that can access are given the support to do so.”
Cllr Dorrance gave a “firm political commitment” to publish the statement of intent as soon as possible.
ECO4 was unanimously approved by the Cabinet.
ECO (Energy Company Obligation) is a UK government energy efficiency scheme administered by OFGEM and funded by energy companies, which is designed to reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty throughout the UK.
Not for profit community interest company Warm Wales run the scheme on behalf of the council.
ECO4 took over from the third version of the scheme which ended on March 31 and is intended to run until the end of March 2026.
According to Warm Wales part of the eligibility criteria is that a house has a poor energy EPC rating of E, F or G or is a “hard to treat” property which includes being off the mains gas.
Householders who are vulnerable or at higher risk due to a medical condition that can be made worse by a cold home would qualify.
The income threshold to qualify has also been raised and is now up to £42,000 for households with two adults and four or more children.
Warm Wales say they will require evidence to prove that applicants qualify for the scheme.
Approximately 9,500 of the 59,600 households in Powys are in
fuel poverty, identified by Powys Council’s Well-being Assessment 2017.