Fine Gael councillor Michael Foley has expressed disappointment following the recent announcement of the government’s national retrofit plan.
The warmer homes scheme offers free energy upgrades for eligible homeowners who are most at risk of energy poverty.
The scheme has changed one of its qualifying criteria which came into effect for new applications submitted after February 8th.
Previously a house built prior to 2006 qualified for the scheme but now this only applies to houses built prior to 1993.
Cllr Foley says he understands the need to prioritise older houses however he believes changing the construction timeline is wrong.
He says the most vulnerable who would benefit from having their houses insulated have been penalised.
Since 2000, over 143,000 free upgrades have been supported by the scheme.
In response, the Department of Environment said the Government announced a package of supports to make it easier and more affordable for homeowners to undertake home energy upgrades, for warmer, healthier and more comfortable homes, with lower energy bills. The measures included improvements to the Warmer Homes Scheme which are aimed at protecting people most at risk of energy poverty.
The changes included a commitment to target the worst performing properties, by prioritising homes that were built and occupied before 1993 and have a pre-works BER of E, F or G. Homes with a BER of E, F or G are more expensive to heat and, as such, the occupants are more likely to be at risk of energy poverty. It is important to note that homes built up to 2006 can still apply under the scheme, though wait times for these better-performing and less expensive to heat homes may be longer as worse performing homes are prioritised. An error on the SEAI website in this regard has now been corrected. Existing applications will not be affected by this change.