The Government has published Warmer Homes: A Strategy for Affordable Energy in Ireland, which sets out a vision for improving the affordability of energy for low-income households; ensuring that people can live in a warm and comfortable home that enhances the quality of their lives and supports good physical and mental health.
The strategy was developed by the inter-Departmental Group on Affordable Energy and includes 48 actions that will be implemented over the life of the strategy. Key highlights include:
* the introduction of minimum thermal efficiency standards for all properties offered for rent,
* reviewing the National Fuel and Household Benefits Schemes so see how we can target cash supports effectively and prioritise colder homes,
* Achieving economies and harnessing community effort by the introduction of an area-based approach to mitigating energy poverty.
Importantly, the strategy also introduces a new approach to measuring energy poverty, which will help target at-risk households. The strategy will be implemented and monitored by the members of Inter-Departmental/Agency Group on Affordable Energy who will prioritise five work packages in the coming months (thermal efficiency standards, energy suppliers, area-based approach, data and information, and communication).
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD, comments: “While the Government faces difficult economic decisions in the coming weeks, we can’t forget those most in need – particularly as we face into another winter. We need a strategy that prioritises what can be done to protect low-income households.’
The Minister adds: “This is not something we will achieve overnight. The Programme for Government was clear that we needed a new way of thinking about the whole issue of energy poverty. The publication of this strategy marks a hugely important milestone in ensuring that we protect those most vulnerable in our society in a coordinated, cohesive and effective way.”