Energy price crisis: Government launches £67m energy efficiency grant scheme
The UK Government has launched a new grant scheme that will support low-income homes to upgrade insulation and install lower-carbon heating, ahead of an increase in energy bills in April.
The scheme, called the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG), was first announced last February as part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) plans to tackle fuel poverty. It will see money from Whitehall coffers provided to local authorities, which will invite households to book in for free wall and roof insultation and replacement heating systems.
BEIS has stated that up to 4,300 homes will benefit from the initial £67m funding round under HUG. All upgrades should be delivered within a year, and will be offered, in the first instance, to low-income houses that are not currently connected to the gas grid and are ranked as Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band D or lower.
Through to 2025, £950m will be allocated through the HUG scheme. 22 local authorities will receive funding.
With gas prices currently four times as high as they were last year and electricity prices also skyrocketing, regulator Ofgem announced earlier this month that it will be increasing the price cap for dual-fuel household annual bills by 54% in April.
BEIS is encouraging households to participate in HUG by touting a reduction of up to £200 in annual dual-fuel bills. The climate benefits are not being emphasized by BEIS as much at this point.
Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said HUG will “keep more money in people’s pockets, at the same time as making homes warmer, more comfortable and greener”.
The launch of HUG comes as Ministers face increasing pressure to take a broader look at the role energy efficiency could play in shielding the public from the energy price crisis.
There have repeatedly been calls for a replacement to the failed Green Homes Grant, which had covered some £2bn of funding, but only 10% of this budget was spent. HUG will provide less than half of the Green Homes Grant scheme’s level of funding.
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