Encouraging home energy efficiency is crucial. I welcome the publication of the Heat and Buildings Strategy earlier this year, which set out the actions the Government is taking to reduce emissions from our buildings and help households improve energy efficiency.
The Government has outlined a comprehensive package to retrofit buildings across the country. This includes the Home Upgrade Grant Scheme which funds energy efficiency measures for low-income households, such as wall and roof insulation as well as new low-carbon heating systems, thermostats and room heating controls. There is also the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund which is helping to upgrade a significant amount of the social housing stock in England currently below Energy Performance Certificate rating C.
Locally, Wiltshire Council announced in March that it had been successful in securing more than £3.6m of Government funding, as part of the Home Upgrade Grant, which will be spent on retrofitting up to 210 Wiltshire homes by March 2025, supporting the council's ambition for the county to be carbon neutral by 2030.
As we all know only too well, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, energy prices have, over the past year, increased enormously, which is why the Government has put in place an ambitious plan of taxpayer funded schemes. One of these is the Energy Bills Support Scheme which should have been paid as credits to your monthly electricity bill. This has been extended until the end of June. The vast majority of UK households will, by now, have received monthly payments automatically.
Unfortunately, there are households which, due to various reasons, that have not received these payments automatically. This is why a portal was opened on the Government website (which you can find here) which caters for those who were missed. You can apply through this site and payment will be organised by Wiltshire Council who will contact you directly.
Most households will automatically get a £200 Alternative Fuels Payment if they use alternative fuels for most of their heating, such as liquid petroleum gas, oil or solid fuel. Again, for the vast majority, this will have been done automatically. Those that have not received this automatically can also apply through a Government Portal (which you can find here).
If you cannot apply online or need help with your application, contact the helpline team. You have until the end of May to apply. Email: email@example.com Telephone: 0808 175 3287
It is worth mentioning one other group, with whom I am working locally, that are yet to receive the EBSS: those who live aboard boats or in vehicles that have no fixed address. The Government is keen to support those without a fixed address so that they receive the same energy support that other households have benefitted from. I understand that Ministers are currently working to find an acceptable method for these households to provide proof of eligibility, whilst protecting public funds, so they can claim their £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme payment. Unfortunately, this is taking longer than I had hoped but I will continue to push Government to move faster on this.