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Government backed scheme will help those who need help with energy costs

INFORMATION on a government-backed scheme to make homes warmer could be delivered to all homes in Torfaen with a poor energy performance rating. 

The borough council is set to support an energy efficiency scheme, funded by energy companies and supported by the UK Government, that can carry out improvements from replacing boilers to insulating homes. 

Energy firm EDF has been chosen to partner councils in the Gwent region to arrange the installation of improvements in private households that meet the requirement for support under the Eco Flex 4 scheme. 

Torfaen’s cabinet, which is due to meet on Tuesday, January 10, is being recommended to approve how it will implement the scheme. 
To raise awareness among homeowners and tenants the council will make mail-drops to all households in Torfaen with a known Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D, E, F and G advising of the help available. 

The council says doing so will allow it to target the most vulnerable households while it will also make health workers and the voluntary sector aware so they can promote it. 

A marketing campaign to raise awareness of the scheme will also be run by EDF and the 10 councils, including Torfaen, that make up the Cardiff Capital Region. 

A single eligibility criteria for who can be supported by the scheme is to be agreed across the Cardiff Capital Region and the programme will run until March 2026. 

There will be four routes to accessing the scheme and all households with the lower D to G ratings, and with a gross annual income of less than £31,000 a year, will be eligible. 

Doctors will also be able to refer those on low incomes living in a house rated D to G, and whose health may be impacted by living in a cold home, to the scheme. 

Households rated E to G will be eligible if they meet two of six situations. Those range from living in one of the most deprived areas, being in receipt of a council tax rebate as they have a low income but not single person’s discount, meeting a medical definition of being “at risk” from living in a cold home or receiving help from a council scheme for this need or they receive free school meals. 

Those referred to the council by their energy supplier or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau as they are struggling to pay gas and electric bills will also be eligible, though living in one of the most deprived areas and a health risk from a cold home cannot be used together to meet the criteria. 

Energy suppliers and councils can also refer homes in bands D to G where they have identified someone is vulnerable and has a low income if they do not meet the other criteria. 

Applicants will have to contact EDF directly for help but it is intended the council will let people know of their potential eligibility and how they can apply. Applications will have to be approved by the council and EDF will report on a monthly basis how many jobs it has carried out. 

The scheme is funded by the energy companies and the council will receive an administration fee for every application.

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