The Warm Homes Fund
National Grid and Community Interest Company, Affordable Warmth Solution (AWS) are pleased to launch the bidding process for a new £150m Warm Homes Fund (WHF) designed to support local authorities, registered social landlords and other organisations working in partnership with them, to address some of the issues affecting fuel poor households.
Around 4 million UK households are in fuel poverty, unable to heat their home to the temperature needed to stay warm and healthy. As well as being on low incomes many of these households are also faced with the additional burden of relying on heating systems that are expensive to run and/or inadequate for their needs. Furthermore, because of their circumstances or property type they may not currently be able to benefit from existing mandated schemes.
In 2014 the UK Government introduced a statutory target to ensure fuel poor homes in England achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C by 31 December 2030, with targets in Scotland and Wales also set by the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly respectively. NEA’s Annual Fuel Poverty Monitor reports that without additional investment and ambition these targets may not be realised.
The WHF is a £150million fund administered by AWS across England, Wales and Scotland, primarily designed to address some of these issues by incentivising the installation of affordable heating solutions in fuel poor households who do not use mains gas as their primary heating fuel. It is envisaged that this fund will be used to supplement local strategic plans and other funds available.
The fund is split into three broad categories:
- Category 1: Urban homes and communities – we anticipate this will involve new gas heating systems which provide space heating and domestic hot water. It could also include heat network solutions.
- Category 2: Rural homes and communities – some of the most severely fuel poor households are those without a mains gas connection in rural locations. This category will therefore primarily focus on ‘non-gas’ solutions which may include air source heat pumps, oil and LPG.
- Category 3: Specific energy efficient/health related solutions – this may involve national or regional programmes which bring together relevant organisations and charities to promote energy efficiency and health related programmes in relation to fuel poverty.
To maximise the impact of the WHF, all properties are expected to be insulated to the recommended industry standards and bidders and their partners are encouraged to seek additional funding to ensure these standards are met.The aims of the fund are to reduce bills, increase comfort in non-gas fuel poor households, and improve health outcomes for some of the most severe levels of fuel poverty.
The Fund will be run over a 3-year period over three annual rounds of bids, with applications invited from local authorities and registered social landlords, working with their local partners.
What will a successful bid look like:
AWS wish to see the greatest number of fuel poor households reap the benefits that come with innovative and creative solutions. We do not intend to prescribe particular solutions that must be implemented so as to allow bidders to tailor bids to local conditions. Bidders will have flexibility in what solutions they wish to implement within the parameters set out in the guidance. Since the WHF is primarily targeted at delivering measures to fuel poor households, AWS will seek to limit marketing and administration costs to a maximum of 10% of the bid value.
Proposals will be judged on the following:
- The number of fuel poor households supported
- Strategic fit of the project with the Governments Fuel Poverty Strategy
- Value for money, including the ability to leverage in funding whilst ensuring additionality.
- The benefit created by the intervention (increases in energy efficiency, notional bill savings)
- Strength of delivery plans, project management and assurance of delivery
We are now pleased to open the window for the first round of bids. The guidance document includes more detail on the requirements of the bids, how the bids will be assessed, assessment criteria and details of specific evidence that will be expected from each of the bids. For this first round of bids we are asking for well developed proposals where physical measures can be delivered during the current fiscal year. Bids which require further development should be held back until the next bidding round opens in spring 2018.
The bid window will remain open until noon on 8th September 2017. Formal assessment of bids will not take place until after this period. Bids should be submitted to AWS electronically by sending the appropriate spreadsheet application form(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org. AWS will confirm receipt of all bids. Any bids received after this date will not be considered in this round of bids. Bids must be submitted by the relevant bidder or the lead bidder on behalf of a consortium.
Throughout the bid process, AWS will maintain a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) which will be regularly updated in response to any queries sent to the team. The results of any questions affecting the bidding process will be published on the bid website.
We intend to have notified all the successful and unsuccessful bids by 31st October 2017. In the case of successful bids, AWS will set out the level of funding and a contract will need to be agreed with the lead bidder.