It’s important that your home is as energy efficient as possible, particularly as gas and electricity bills are continuing to go up. Across Wales there are a number of organisations that work to help home owners and tenants to improve the energy efficiency of homes; unfortunately there are also some organisations who are using the grants available to make a quick buck for themselves.
So can you tell if an organisation offering energy efficiency improvements is genuine.
In the first instance, businesses who work with Welsh Government approval do not carry out cold calling for their energy efficiency schemes. Some, less than honest businesses, claim that they are working under government schemes when in fact they are not; and they ask for an up-front payment to cover administrative costs. Authorised and approved organisations such as Warm Wales-Cymru Gynnes, who have access to Nest or Arbed funding, do not request pre-payment. So if you are told that an organisation is working under a Welsh Government scheme you should firstly ask which scheme. Then check that that the scheme does actually exist and that you are eligible for funding.
As a guideline, the schemes that the Welsh Government word under are as foolows:
Nest is a Welsh Government scheme that offers eligible householders a ‘complete house’ package of energy efficiency improvements free of charge. Each home is considered on an individual basis and usually covers offers ranging from a new gas boiler and central heating system through to loft and cavity wall insulation together with external wall insulation. Homes are surveyed by a Nest qualified energy assessor who provides a report on what works are required to achieve energy efficiencies in the property.
To qualify for Nest funding, applicants must undergo a benefits means test; the property must be privately owned or rented from a private landlord; and it has an Energy Performance Certificate rating of F or G. If you do not meet these criteria, you may still be eligible for partial grant funding to insulate your home.
What’s more, Nest offers householders across Wales advice and guidance on how to reduce their energy bills and can pass on details of other grants for home energy improvements.
Nest also provides a range of advice and support services to help householders reduce their fuel bills. It can also refer eligible householders for free or subsidised home energy improvements.
All documents relating to the Nest initiative will include Welsh Government logos on them. If you are presented documents from a possible supplier that does not have these endorsements, then they are not a genuine provider under the Nest scheme.
Arbed is Welsh for ‘to save’ and is another Welsh Government initiative designed to improve energy efficiencies and reduce the cost of heating of homes within a specific area of Wales. Arbed funding is delivered through local authorities and other registered social landlords rather than to householders directly.
The aim of Arbed funding is to provide financial support to homes in deprived areas where fuel poverty is at its highest. Some of the measures offered under Arbed include improvements to insulation, replacement of old and inefficient boilers, switching to affordable and renewable fuel, the installation of further energy efficient systems.
If you are living in an area where there is an Arbed scheme, you will be contacted directly by the scheme manager or local authority in question.
UK Government schemes
Householders in Wales can also access free or subsidised energy improvement schemes under the UK Government. These include the ‘Green Deal’ and the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) schemes, both of which were launched in 2013.
These initiatives help householders and businesses to increase their energy efficiencies by making improvements to the properties without having to pay all of the costs up front.
For more information about Welsh and UK Government energy efficiency schemes and how to make sure they are genuine, visit www.wales.gov.uk