9 February 2024
Support available for people living in off gas grid homes
We’re offering free Home Upgrade Grants to help residents make their properties greener and cheaper to heat
A new scheme has been launched in Wokingham borough offering free home energy improvements for lower income households living in properties which are unable to connect to mains gas, and must rely on other means, including oil, coal, LPG or electricity to heat their homes.
The Home Upgrade Grant (HUG2) will offer support to these off gas households with a range of improvements aimed at making their homes more energy efficient and cheaper to run. Improvements offered will vary depending upon the individual property but could include things such as insulation and ventilation upgrades, energy efficient lighting, solar panels, solar hot water, energy efficient hot water systems, and low carbon heating systems such as an air source heat pump.
In addition to helping residents tackle the high cost of living these improvements will also help support the council’s climate emergency action plan goals by helping reduce the properties carbon footprint.
Any work completed will be free to residents and will be funded through a grant from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero the council successfully bid for last year.
Helping with the cost of living crisis and the climate emergency
“I’m pleased to be able offer this important support for our residents.” Said Cllr David Cornish, executive member for business and economic development and new executive member for climate emergency. “Whilst we don’t have a high number of off gas homes in the borough, we do know that those living in these properties have been some of the hardest hit over recent years. Not only are they suffering from soaring price rises for their fuel, but they are completely reliant on supplies being delivered to their door at the right time, something which isn’t always easy to coordinate due to national issues with supply and demand.
“The HUG scheme is a great opportunity to support these households. Helping make homes cheaper to heat and run and giving them greater energy security for the longer term. It will also help reduce their reliance on highly polluting fossil fuels by looking at opportunities for greener ways of powering their homes where possible or by reducing their overall energy use.”
Am I eligible?
The Home Upgrade Grant (HUG2) is being run on behalf of the council by Agility Eco, and is open to residents who meet the following criteria:
- Homes not heated by mains gas, which includes oil, coal, LPG or electric heating
- Households with a combined annual income of less than £31,000 (gross) or receiving an income-related means-tested benefit such as Universal Credit
- Energy inefficient homes with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D, E, F or G
Where residents are unsure of their EPC rating, but meet the other criteria, support will be available to help them assess whether their home may meet the relevant energy inefficient criteria.
In addition to those who own their own home, the scheme is also open to tenants and landlords of privately rented homes. Where the property is privately rented both tenant and landlord will need to give their approval before any improvements can be made, and landlords may also be expected to contribute towards the cost of any works.
How to apply
Residents who believe they meet the above criteria can fill out an application form on the HUG website (hugapply.co.uk) or by calling 0800 107 8883.
You can also contact the council’s Energy team at email@example.com to find out more.
Agility Eco will then check the residents eligibility, which may involve requesting further information about the home and household income.
Once eligibility has been confirmed Agility Eco will work with the residents to carry out a detailed assessment of the home and agree a plan for what improvements could be made under the HUG scheme. Once this has been agreed Agility Eco will appoint a contractor to carry out these improvement works.
You can find out more about this process, and the type of information you will need to provide on the HUG website (hugapply.co.uk).