More households eligible for free energy-saving upgrades
More households in West Oxfordshire could benefit from a government backed grant to make homes more energy efficient and cheaper to run, following a change in the eligibility criteria.
The second phase of the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) scheme helps owner-occupiers and private tenants living in poorly insulated properties access free energy-saving measures worth thousands of pounds - including insulation, low carbon heating systems and solar panels - to make their homes healthier and more affordable while reducing household greenhouse gas emissions.
To be considered, households must not use mains gas as their main source of heating.
Until recently only those with a combined income of under £31,000 could apply. Changes to the grant, which is being delivered by Oxfordshire County Council, in partnership with West Oxfordshire District Council and Welcome the Warmth, means that households with an income of up to £39,000 could now be eligible to receive help.
Councillor Andrew Prosser, Executive Member for Climate Change at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “With plenty of cold weather ahead many in our district will find themselves struggling once again to meet their energy bills and keep their homes warm. Rural properties and those living off-gas are more likely to suffer from fuel poverty, and with the announcement last week that the energy price cap will go up in January, many will be facing greater uncertainty around what they can expect to pay for their bills come the new year.
“Some of the highest carbon heating fuels are oil and coal. Raising the income threshold for the Home Upgrade Grant is very welcome news, supporting more West Oxfordshire households to access the energy saving measures they need while reducing the impact those homes will have on the environment.”
The increase in the income threshold for the HUG in West Oxfordshire accounts for the higher cost of living Oxfordshire residents face, compared to elsewhere in the country.
A household is considered fuel poor if its income, after fuel and housing costs, is below the poverty line and they live in a property with an energy efficiency rating of band D or below. In 2022, there were 3.26 million homes in fuel poverty in England.
Households that use alternative fuels, such as solid fuels, oil or liquified petroleum gas (LPG), or electricity for their heating are more likely to be classified as being in fuel poverty than other households. Research suggests they are also more likely to experience deeper or more extreme levels of fuel poverty.
To be considered for the HUG energy-performance upgrades, householders must live in an energy inefficient home with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or lower. Properties without a current EPC can still apply and will be assessed as part of the application process.
Householders can check their home’s EPC rating: www.gov.uk/find-energy-certificate
To find out more visit: www.welcomethewarmth.org.uk or call Welcome the Warmth’s freephone number 0800 038 6775.
Please see our Home Upgrade Grant funding Privacy Notice
West Oxfordshire District Council Communications Team
Notes to editors
- The Home Upgrade Grant is administered by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ).
- The new £39,000 threshold applies to the Home Upgrade Grant delivered by Oxfordshire County Council and Welcome the Warmth. The scheme is available to eligible residents living in West Oxfordshire, Cherwell, Vale or White Horse and South Oxfordshire districts. The uplift does not apply to the Home Upgrade Grant which is currently being delivered by Oxford City Council.
- Decarbonisation of heating in homes and other buildings is widely considered as important for achieving the UK’s climate targets of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
- Households off the gas grid currently use some of the highest-carbon heating fuels, including oil and coal.
- Landlords would be expected to contribute a third of the overall costs of any works.