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'toasty homes' £500,000 grant scheme launches in Derry

Posted on: 2 September 2010

Pictured at the Guildhall, Derry - Paula Simpson, firmus energy and Patrick Thompson, Energy Saving Trust

Pictured at the Guildhall, Derry - Paula Simpson, firmus energy and Patrick Thompson, Energy Saving Trust

firmus energy launched an exciting initiative today offering grants to qualifying households in Derry to switch their existing heating system to natural gas.

firmus energy launched an exciting initiative today offering grants to qualifying households in Derry to switch their existing heating system to natural gas. The 'toasty homes' scheme is giving people across the city the opportunity to secure a grant of up to £1,500 towards the installation costs of converting to a new natural gas heating system. Anyone who successfully secures one of the 'toasty homes' grants can also benefit from up to £800 towards insulating their home and free energy saving light bulbs.

The scheme, which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland Sustainability Energy Programme, will be available to 350 households, and equates to more than £500,000 across these homes, on a first-come, first-served basis. What makes this scheme unique is that 'toasty homes' is open to households which currently use oil, LPG, Economy 7, solid fuel or those with no heating system.

Given that almost half of heat loss in a typical home is through the walls and roof, the 'toasty homes' scheme, which can also include insulation, will allow households in the area to ensure their homes are as energy-efficient as possible.

Customers who secure a 'toasty homes' grant gain financial help to install a high efficiency natural gas boiler, which means you waste less fuel and heat, which in turn keeps fuel bills and C02 emissions down. Converting from a 10 year old G rated oil boiler to a new A rated natural gas boiler with a full set of heating controls can lead to an improvement of 32% in boiler efficiency, which impacts directly on annual fuel bills.

Adding the savings from more efficient boilers, proper controls and lower cost of natural gas can create a huge saving of around 46% or £493 per annum for households who have made the switch to natural gas.

Paula Simpson, firmus energy, was in Derry today to help launch the 'toasty homes' scheme with Patrick Thompson from the Energy Savings Trust (EST). Paula said: "We're delighted to announce that 'toasty homes' grants are available again this year. It's a fantastic scheme as the criteria allows us to reach out to those households who may narrowly miss-out on other benefit schemes. Switching to firmus energy natural gas makes common sense as it just takes one quick phone call which can have huge advantages, including lower fuel bills. Natural gas from firmus energy is cheaper than oil and we review our prices annually to ensure it continues to be cheaper.

"Our existing customers in Derry love the fact that they will 'never run out' of fuel and that they have a constant, instant supply of hot water. It's great that all those who qualify for toasty homes will also enjoy these benefits. With no need for an oil tank or hot water cylinder, people who switch to natural gas can have extra space in the garden or 'splash' out on a new shower unit inside!

"We also offer a 'pay-as-you-go' facility with the firmus energy smart card which makes it easier to budget and means one less bill for householders to worry about. So there has never been a better incentive for people to make the switch to natural gas from firmus energy."

Mr Thompson from the EST commented on the scheme: "We are very pleased to support firmus energy at the launch of their 'toasty homes' scheme. The cost-saving benefits to people living in Derry are two-fold; with the significant savings on fuel bills to be gained by installing a highly efficient heating system and by insulating the home, as well as the discount on the installation costs. I would encourage anyone interested in making their home a 'toasty home' to apply for a grant now, as there are a limited number of grants available."

To qualify for the 'toasty homes' scheme, people must:

  • Own their own home or live in private rented accommodation
  • Currently use LPG, oil, Economy 7, solid fuel or have no central heating
  • Live along the firmus energy natural gas network in Armagh
  • Be single with an income/pension of up to £24K gross per annum
  • OR couple (with/without children) / single parent family with income/pension up to £35K gross per annum

If you would like to find out if you are eligible or you want to turn your home into a 'toasty home' simply contact Paula Simpson of firmus energy on 02894 427818.

If you would like to find out if you are eligible or you want to turn your home into a 'toasty home' simply contact firmus energy on 08456 08 00 88.

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