Two hundred and sixty eight and 505 homes in Antrim and Ballymena Borough Councils respectively have had new boilers installed as part of the Department for Social Development’s Boiler Replacement Scheme.
The scheme, provided initially by funding from the Northern Ireland Executive with additional part financing secured from the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, was launched in September 2012 by Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland and offers owner occupiers a grant of up to £1,000 to replace inefficient boilers, with energy efficient condensing oil or gas boilers; switching from oil to gas; or switching to a wood pellet boiler.
It is available to those who earn less than £40,000 a year with an inefficient boiler of at least 15 years and is dependent on total gross income.
Encouraging homeowners who meet the criteria to apply, Minister McCausland said: “This scheme is aimed specifically at helping households on low incomes improve the energy efficiency in their homes therefore reducing costs. Since its launch, it has been a major success with over 11,300 homeowners throughout Northern Ireland replacing their inefficient boiler and reducing their fuel outlay costs.
“Replacing an old inefficient boiler with a new condensing boiler can in an average three bedroom semi-detached house, see potential savings of between £300 to £350 per year. In these difficult financial times, savings such as this can make a real difference to the lives of those who the scheme is targeted at. I would therefore encourage those homeowners whose household income is less than £40,000 per year and currently have a boiler of at least 15 years to contact the Housing Executive on 03448 920900 or visit the nidirect website at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/grant-to-replace-your-boiler.”
The Minister concluded: “With installers being chosen directly by the householder, the scheme has also been a great benefit to over 1,800 local gas and oil installers who have carried out work as part of the scheme.”
A total of £18milion is available from the scheme over a three year period. The Northern Ireland Executive allocated a total of £12million to the scheme, £4million for each of the three years 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. An additional £6million, £3million for each of the years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 was secured from the European Regional Development Fund. This brings to 24,000 the number of homeowners in Northern Ireland who could benefit from the scheme.