What does energy poverty mean? The aim is to make homes warmer, healthier and cheaper to run. According to the government’s Energy Poverty Strategy, a household may be energy poor if it is unable to afford an acceptable standard of warmth and energy services.

In Ireland, if a household spends more than 10% of their disposable income on energy costs it is considered energy poor. Home improvements offered: There are a number of home energy improvements offered as part of this scheme: Attic insulation, Cavity wall insulation, Draught proofing, Lagging jackets, Low energy light bulbs, Energy advice.

The following measures are not available under the scheme: external wall insulation, internal dry-lining, central heating, window/door replacements and renewable technologies.

No cost to homeowners: Warmer Homes Scheme measures are carried out at no cost to the homeowner.

Who can apply: You must own and live in your own home. It must have been built and occupied before 2006.

You must receive one of the following: Fuel Allowance as part of the National Fuel Scheme or Job Seekers Allowance for over six months and have a child under 7 years of age or Working Family Payment (FIS) or One-Parent Family Payment or Domiciliary Care Allowance. You must not have received works previously under the Warmer Homes Scheme.

How the grant works: Subject to your eligibility for the scheme the next steps are: You will be contacted by a surveyor acting on behalf of SEAI who will arrange a time to visit your home. During the visit, the surveyor will assess your home and ascertain the measures which may be required. If eligible works are identified, then an SEAI appointed installer will be assigned to your home. The installer will contact you to arrange a time to install the measures.

Works are completed – the time taken to complete the works may vary from a number of days to a number of weeks. Installers offer a two-year guarantee on all works carried out. A sample of recipient homes will be inspected to ensure that the completed works meet the required specification and standards. All homes receive a post works Building Energy Rating (BER).

Please note waiting times are impacted by the demand for the scheme. At present average waiting times are in the region of six to nine months. The scheme is eligible for co-funding from the European Union.

To apply for the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme, you will need to submit: The application form available on seai.ie, completed and signed by you. It should also be signed and stamped by an official of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Proof of ownership of your home.

Please provide a copy of one of the following with your name and address clearly shown: • Your home insurance policy (not a quote) • Your mortgage statement • The title deeds to your property • Your Local Property Tax notification letter, supported by a utility bill.

If you are on Job Seekers Allowance for over six months and have a child under seven years of age, please also submit a copy of your child’s birth certificate Further Information Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, P.O. Box 119, Caherciveen, Co. Kerry Tel: Locall:1800 250 204: Homepage: http://www.seai.ie: Email: warmerhomes@seai.ie.

Free Legal Advice Clinic will be held at Shannon Citizens Information Centre on Monday afternoon May 28th by appointment only. Please call 0761 07 5370.