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'toasty homes' £600,000 grant scheme launches

Posted on: 14 September 2011

Mayor of Coleraine, Maurice Bradley pictured with firmus energy's Gavin Twamley at the launch of Toasty Homes 2011.

Mayor of Coleraine, Maurice Bradley pictured with firmus energy's Gavin Twamley at the launch of Toasty Homes 2011.

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

The ‘toasty homes’ scheme gives homes in Coleraine 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, free energy saving light bulbs and a free energy monitor.

This is the second year that firmus energy has run the ‘toasty homes’ scheme, which is part-funded through the Northern Ireland Sustainability Energy Programme.  Last year’s successful initiative saw over 300 homes across Northern Ireland receive a grant to convert to natural gas, which, among its many benefits, can help customers reduce their heating and hot water bills for homes compared to other fuels1.

This year, grants totalling over £600,000 will be available to 400 households across Northern Ireland, on a first-come, first-served basis.  What makes the ‘toasty home’ scheme unique is that it is open to households which currently use oil (with a boiler older than 15 years), 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 roof2, the ‘toasty homes’ scheme, which can also include insulation, will allow householders in Coleraine to ensure their homes are as energy-efficient as possible.

Customers who secure a ‘toasty homes’ grant will receive financial support to install a high efficiency natural gas boiler which will help reduce household fuel bills and reduce CO2 emissions.  For example, converting from a ten 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%3 in boiler efficiency, which impacts directly on annual fuel bills.

Adding the savings from more efficient boilers, proper controls and the lower cost of natural gas can create huge savings. firmus energy natural gas prices continue to be the lowest of any domestic supplier in Northern Ireland4.  Even after our planned increase in natural gas prices in October, natural gas from firmus energy is currently 27%5 cheaper than heating oil and therefore one of the lowest cost heating fuels for your home.  This differential could help deliver savings of almost £226 per year for an average sized home using natural gas compared to oil5. Customers can also be reassured that our price from 1st October will be fixed for a period of at least 12 months, allowing them to budget with confidence and ensure firmus energy natural gas is cheaper than oil6.

Gavin Twamley of firmus energy, was in Coleraine today to help launch the ‘toasty homes’ scheme with the Mayor of Coleraine, Maurice Bradley.  Gavin said:  “We’re delighted to announce that ‘toasty homes’ grants are available again this year.  It’s a fantastic scheme as the criteria allow us to reach out to those households that may miss out on other benefit schemes.  Switching to natural gas from firmus energy makes common sense as it just takes one quick phone call to take advantage of lower fuel bills.  Natural gas from firmus energy is cheaper than oil5 and we review our prices annually to ensure it continues to be so.  

“Our existing customers in Coleraine love the fact that they will ‘never run out’ of fuel and have a constant, instant supply of hot water.   Those who qualify for toasty homes will also enjoy these benefits and as there is no need for an oil tank or hot water cylinder, people who switch to natural gas can also have extra space in their gardens or could even ‘splash out’ on a new shower unit inside!

“We also offer homes the option of paying for their gas using our ‘pay-as-you-go’ 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 time for people to make the switch to natural gas from firmus energy.”

Mayor of Coleraine, Maurice Bradley 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 Coleraine is two-fold; initially the substantial discount off the installation but equally importantly, the significant savings on fuel bills gained by installing a highly efficient heating system and by insulating the home. I would encourage anyone interested in making their home a ‘toasty home’ to apply for a grant sooner rather than later, 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 privately rented accommodation
  • Currently use LPG, oil (with a boiler over 15 years), Economy 7, solid fuel or have no central heating
  • Live along the firmus energy natural gas network in Coleraine
  • 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 firmus energy on 0800 032 4567.

-ends-

Notes to editors: 

1 Based on the new firmus energy 10 Towns Domestic PAYG price of 4.122p/kWh compared to the August 2011 average price of home heating oil at 5.62p/kWh and the current rate of economy 7 heating at 7.93p/kWh. Financial saving based on a firmus energy 10 towns PAYG customer with natural gas heating requiring 15,073kWh, to a domestic customer with oil heating requiring 15,262kWh and a customer with economy 7 heating requiring 16,391kWh to provide heating and hot water p.a. (13,932kWh space heating and 2,459 DHW heating) based on monthly sample rates from Sutherland tables May 10 (average 3 bed semi-figures with limited heating controls from the Energy Saving Trust.  Excluding boiler efficiencies and direct debit discounts. (Inc VAT).
2 Energy Saving Trust, 2011, Energy saving statistics and facts, Walls, roof, windows and doors. (Online) Available at: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/About-us/Media-centre/Energy-saving-statistics-and-facts/Walls-roof-windows-and-doors (Accessed 08 September, 2011).
3 Boiler efficiency of 65% used for an existing ‘G’ rated oil boiler over 10 years old & 86% for a new ‘A’ rated natural gas condensing boiler with new heating controls (Energy Saving Trust).
4Based on the new firmus energy 10 Towns Domestic PAYG price of 4.122p/kWh (incl VAT) compared to the Phoenix Supply PAYG price of 4.968 p/kWh (Incl VAT) – (17% less)
5 Based on the new firmus energy 10 Towns Domestic PAYG price of 4.122p/kWh compared to the August 2011 average price of home heating oil at 5.62p/kWh. Financial saving based on a firmus energy 10 towns natural gas PAYG customer requiring 15,073kWh to provide heating and hot water p.a compared to a domestic customer with oil heating requiring 15,262kWh to provide heating and hot water p.a (average 3 bed semi-figures with limited heating controls from the Energy Saving Trust.  Excluding boiler efficiencies and direct debit discounts. (Inc VAT).
Based on the new firmus energy 10 Towns Domestic credit price of 4.266p/kWh (24%) compared to the August 2011 average price of home heating oil at 5.62p/kWh. Financial saving based on a firmus energy 10 towns natural gas credit customer requiring 15,073kWh to provide heating and hot water p.a compared to a domestic customer with oil heating requiring 15,262kWh provide heating and hot water p.a to provide heating and hot water (average 3 bed semi-figures with limited heating controls from the Energy Saving Trust.  Excluding boiler efficiencies and direct debit discount. (Inc VAT).
6Comparison based on Energy Saving Trust figures for 3 bed semi against average oil prices and 100% boiler efficiency from September 2008 to August 2011. Oil price is checked independently and quoted weekly by the market leading fuel oil distributors in our area.  When we review our tariff in September 2012, we will ensure our price for natural gas will be cheaper than oil (based on the average oil price between September 2011 and August 2012).

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