Around 130,000 low-income households could see their bills slashed as the UK government looks to make energy efficiency upgrades through £1.5bn of funding from the Help to Heat scheme.
According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on Thursday, the changes will help households save around £400 to £700 a year, as well as supporting as many as 19,000 green energy sector jobs.
The money, which will come from the £6.6bn that was announced in 2021, allows social housing providers and local authorities to submit bids for funding to upgrade necessary properties.
This includes installation measures such as external wall and loft insulation, energy efficient doors and windows, heat pumps and solar panels, with multiple measures often being installed in a single home to considerably improve the energy performance.
Local authorities and social housing providers will be able to submit bids for funding and will deliver upgrades from early next year until March 2025.
It comes as more than 30,000 homes have already been upgraded under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and Home Upgrade Grant schemes.
Britain currently has some of the least energy efficient homes in Europe.
With the government’s Energy Price Guarantee, for the next two years, the typical annual household bill will be £2,500, a saving of at least £1,000 a year based on current prices and energy usage. This is on top of existing government plans to give all households £400 off bills this winter.
“Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, would have had dire consequences on the energy bills of both households and businesses this winter, without the government’s decisive action. Today I am cutting costs even further for the most vulnerable households for years to come,” business and energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said.
“By making homes warmer and cheaper to live in, we are not only transforming the lives of households across England, we are creating huge growth in the economy, backing the green energy sector and supporting thousands of high-skilled jobs.”
Social housing with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or lower will be eligible to receive Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) upgrades, while the Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) funding will help people who are most vulnerable to fuel poverty, living in privately-owned — both rented and owner-occupied — off gas-grid homes and on low incomes.
Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “The launch of the second wave of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund is hugely welcome. This vital funding will enable housing associations across the country to make significant progress in retrofitting and decarbonising their homes — work that not only cuts carbon emissions but saves residents money on their heating bills.
“We know that England’s homes produce more carbon each year than the average annual use of the country’s cars, so decarbonising social homes has a pivotal role to play to meeting the country’s net zero target.
“The National Housing Federation and our members look forward to continuing to work with BEIS to demonstrate the benefits that decarbonising homes has on residents’ lives.”