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Energy Grants: Should energy be free?

Melanie Grant - One Show team | 12:53 UK time, Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Can't see the video? Click here to watch

It's one of those impossible choices but with the credit crunch biting some people are being forced to make cutbacks on even the essentials like food, gas and electricity.

The cost of energy has skyrocketed - by over 40% this year bills are a struggle. The average household's spending an incredible £1,300 a year on their bills. So could energy-saving measures like insulation be the solution?

Gordon Brown recently launched the new CERT scheme where households can apply for money towards their energy-saving expenses. There's almost £3.4bn available for the public to claim and you don't have to be on benefit or income support.

To get your cash back all you need to do is get an application in.

You can get that from one of the energy companies, the Energy Saving Trust or your local Council.

Is it a sorry state of affairs that we have to have grants to heat up our homes? Or should energy just be free? 

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  • 1. At 7:12pm on 24 Sep 2008, siandav wrote:

    Sian from Much Wenlock would like to point out to Dom that the people who need the telephone number for the energy grants because they do not have access to a computer, would find it a little difficult to find the telephone number by looking it up on the one show website!!!????

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  • 2. At 7:16pm on 24 Sep 2008, Mancubsa wrote:

    Not All Are Eligible!!!

    We have a steel framed bungalow and we have had three quotes from different companies follwing the possibility of a grant. We were just after the cavity wall insulation and each time we contacted the companies we stated that our house was steel framed. They all said no problem and as each of the surveyors arrived they more or less turned around and got in their cars and drove off. The one company said they would do it for us but no grant would be given, no warranty given and full price of £500 would be charged. So much for... "Available to All"

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  • 3. At 7:18pm on 24 Sep 2008, Masterbowl wrote:

    It's less than helpful/useful to have the energysavingtrust hyperlink http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/ going to an empty page!

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  • 4. At 7:19pm on 24 Sep 2008, roger-no44 wrote:

    i have a house that is ten years old built with thermolite blocks
    I understood that i do not need cavity wall insulation because of this
    is this true

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  • 5. At 7:21pm on 24 Sep 2008, wellyvamp wrote:

    These grants are all very well if you are on social or are working full time and can afford the £199.00 to have it put in. I don’t have a full time job or claiming any entitlements, I am a mature student, who owns there own house and I am not entitled to any help.

    I know people forget about us mature students, were not down the pub throwing money away. I going to have to pay just as much as everyone else on fuel bills and will have to keep the heating off most of this winter.

    I wish there was some help for us.

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  • 6. At 7:26pm on 24 Sep 2008, archgyp wrote:

    My husband will be 70 years old next May when we can get certain free installations Should we wait?

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  • 7. At 7:27pm on 24 Sep 2008, jsmada wrote:

    i am converting bungalow studio room in loft to bedroom vertually no insulation installing triso which is £200 a 20sq metre roll tried local council no joy as all allocated funds exausted tried eon my supplier told have to be 70yrs old i and my wife both 62 have started installation myself, will try your link for cert funds

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  • 8. At 7:51pm on 24 Sep 2008, grantictoc wrote:

    My partner and I both over 60 tried to claim a DECENT HOMES GRANT from our local council, High Peak Borough Council.

    It took them 4 weeks to tell us no we could'nt have a grant, because they have run out of funding.

    Quote - people who have requested grant assistance in 2008 are unlikely to receive any funding from the current budget, due to the size of the waiting list carried over from the previous two years.

    Thanks again Gordon Brown for absolutely nothing.

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  • 9. At 8:22pm on 24 Sep 2008, secondstoneleigh wrote:

    The link on your Energy Saving Grants times out! You don't give a phone number to ring either.

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  • 10. At 8:35pm on 24 Sep 2008, lindickler wrote:

    well that was a waste of time! the energy watch link timed out.
    I tried this once before and filled in a lengthy form and was then directed to my energy supplier EON, who asked me to fill in another form, which I did and then nothing happened! Complete waste of time.

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  • 11. At 8:38pm on 24 Sep 2008, Markinsul wrote:

    I work for an insulation company. The grants are two fold, national and local. the national grants get the cost for walls to £169 and the loft £195. The local grants take up to a further £100 off each dependent on where you live. This is regardless of income or age. Over seventies get it free as do people on benefits. the Energy Saving Trust No is 0800 512012.

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  • 12. At 8:49pm on 24 Sep 2008, EnergyLink wrote:

    As director of a company involved in facilitating these grants, I can tell you that there is very little funding currently available for the Over 70s and those on benefits, also known as the Priority Group.

    The CERT scheme, which represents the vast majority of the funding, started in April this year following on from the Energy Efficiency Commitment. The Utility companies fund CERT and they have complete control over the budgets. If they decide they have met their targets during a financial year, they can and very often do cut back on the funding or stop it altogether. This is exactly what happened three weeks before Gordon Brown's announcement. Four months into CERT and the Priority funding has almost run out for this year!!

    The reality of the recent energy talks was that 20% more money was put into CERT. Quite how and when that funding will become available is anyone's guess but the latest rumours are that it will be April next year. Too late for this winter. Many are wonering if 20% is enough, given that a whole year's budget only lasted for 30% of that year!

    The Government have only made matters worse by making out that these grants are brand new and saying that (to quote) "all pensioners and low income households will receive free insulation". This is absolute nonsense. Some will qualify and those that do will be lucky to find an organisation that can fund it.

    There is some money left for the utilities own customers and a few other schemes but for how much longer? If the Government and the media keep driving up demand for a product that virtually exists, it will very quickly cease to exist.

    In addition, many existing insulation installers are facing financial difficulty, partly due to rising operating costs but also due to fitting insulation in Priority Group households and being unable to claim the funding. They are reluctant or unable to increase their capacity to cope with demand because of the unpredictable nature of the funding. We are being inundated with calls and emails from people who want to become installers and we tell them exactly how difficult it can be.

    It is high time that the real story was told. The whole grant funding mechanism needs to be re-thought and re-implemented. If you don't believe me, speak to any insulation installer or one of their managing agents, or one of the thousands of customers who are going to be disappointed this Winter and beyond.

    Paul Scott

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  • 13. At 9:43pm on 24 Sep 2008, innovatory wrote:

    How many people have discovered that there thousands of dwellings that cannot have cavity wall insulation quite simply because the vehicles that pump it in do not possess long enough hoses. This applies to houses with long front gardens or apartments higher than ground floor level. I have tried for 2 or 3 years to find a company to carry this out without success. I think it is ridiculous that they cannot solve this. And no one seems particularly interested when you attempt to discuss it.

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  • 14. At 10:52pm on 24 Sep 2008, Melanie Grant wrote:

    Hi - Melanie from The One Show team here...

    Masterbowl and secondstoneleigh, sorry you had trouble getting onto the Energy Saving Trust website.

    I've checked the link and it does works. It's likely that the problem was on the Energy Savings Trust site.

    Sometimes when we link to a website, the demand from The One Show viewers is so high, the site crashes!

    But point about the telephone number.

    Energy Savings Trust:
    0800 512 012

    Thanks for your comments - keep them coming.

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  • 15. At 08:43am on 25 Sep 2008, missnicelady wrote:

    i have tried 4 times over the last year (last time last week) to try and get a grant for help with new central heating.we have cavity wall and loft insulation ,but when we brought this house we got told the heating system was a few years old, it is 25y approx the original. we keep being told we are over the income threshold for grants. the last place last week after this new grants system was on tv, told us we still wouldnt be eligible for help and to keep trying to get the cheapest quote for a heating system we can. even the local council say we are over the income threshold.one wage and a teenage boy .the system needs changing so that all can apply.

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  • 16. At 10:26am on 25 Sep 2008, ps_pkmb wrote:

    the energy saving trust number is 0800 512 012, it will give you free impartial advice on the grants that are avaialbe in your area to help you insulate your home. they can also give you information on renewable energy and grants avaiable under the low carbon building programe which can give a grant of up to 50% in some instances on instaling a revenwable into your property. the cert scheme has been around for a while and many people have acessed it and been able to use it. also local councils have in some areas there own grant scheme which can often be better that cert. plus there is also warm front who if you are in receipt of a benefit they can also help. but please remeber the able to pay price may be £200 but if you were not acessing the grant through cert you could be paying up to £500 for cavity wall insulation. so there is a saving.
    but out of all of this we must look at our usage. there are many familes out there who are thinking carefully about how they use there energy,but there are still a lot of people out there who do not think they should alter the way there use energy. it is very important that we think of the bigger picture.

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  • 17. At 10:40am on 25 Sep 2008, kirsty2911 wrote:

    My Partner and I are in full time work and looked into getting a grant from the local council and goverment.
    Our local council advised me that as we have only just brought the house about a year a go, not on benifits and not over 70 they were unable to help us.
    The couple of places we have contacted regarding the goverment grants have said this will be a cost to us of over 200.00 pound aleast. This also encludes our electricity supplier.
    We had a investation of shall we say dead things and made our house smell, this was a case we needed to change the insulation due to the nest's in it.
    We have now just been to Wick's company which are doing a buy one get one free, this has just cost us 101.00!!!!!!!! Now I'm going to be looking to see if I am able to get our money back, I'm not holding out for it though.

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  • 18. At 10:54am on 25 Sep 2008, adow1982 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 19. At 4:49pm on 25 Sep 2008, ALTYJOHN wrote:

    Recently had a letter from N-power advising new tariff - reveiwed last 12 months dual fuel usage and costs, used usage and new tariff to estimate next 12 months costs. Annual bills will go up from £1400 to nearly £2000 !! This in a house which already has cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, double glazing and a low power long life bulb in every lamp fitting ! The so-called fuel saving initiative isn't much help to ME. I think the target should have been the rip-off utility companies.

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  • 20. At 6:35pm on 29 Sep 2008, SleeplessinStJohns wrote:

    As always another of New Labour's red herrings! People are not going to be able to pay THIS year's fuel bills, even with with a heating allowance. They need cash in hand NOW or, as ALTYJOHN says, the rip-off utility companies should be dealt with - but then how many have fingers in that pie?

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  • 21. At 3:44pm on 05 Oct 2008, melaneil wrote:

    Dear Dom,
    When you said in your recent article on energy saving that I could apply for a none-means-tested grant to put in double glazing I was delighted. However, when I followed the links from the one show website there was no mention of double glazing. Could you supply information on how I could get an energy saving grant for double glazing, under the CERT scheme. Did I hear correctly that the scheme is not means tested?

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  • 22. At 11:09am on 14 Apr 2009, bluejimbo777 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

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