Warm Homes Fund – March 2018 Update
The Warm Homes Fund (WHF) is a £150million fund provided by National Grid and administered by Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS) across England, Scotland and Wales. It is primarily designed to incentivise the installation of affordable heating solutions in fuel poor households who do not use mains gas currently as their primary heating fuel. It is envisaged that this fund will be used to supplement local initiatives and existing funding streams.
The fund is split into three broad categories:
• Category 1: Urban homes and communities
• Category 2: Rural homes and communities
• Category 3: Specific energy efficient/health related solutions
The fund has a series of bidding rounds, with applications invited from local authorities and registered social landlords, working with their local partners
Round 2 update
We would like to thank all bidders who participated in round 2 which closed in February. A total of 107 applications were received across all three categories which, as expected, was reduced from round one following our decision to allow applicants to submit bids in either February or September based on the level of confidence in their figures pending further clarity around ECO3.
40 applicants are now progressing through to contract discussions, representing around £31.5m of funding, and the installation of c.7,800 first time central heating systems. We were also pleased to see some ambitious category 3 projects which will connect fuel poor homes to the resources they need to address their particular challenges and awards in this category have grown significantly in this bidding round.
We are pleased to report that, despite the uncertainties regarding ECO funding, the costs per measure were reduced from round one meaning that the fund can reach even more fuel poor households.
The majority of successful applicants have been notified of the outcome of their bids and we will provide further information, including split by government administrations, once contracts are finalised. We are not in a position to provide individual feedback to unsuccessful bidders.
Approximately £63m has now been allocated from the fund.
By way of reminder, please note that round 2a is open and bids should be submitted by midday on 28th September. You are only eligible to bid in this round if you did not bid in round 2 and, in respect of category 3, if you submitted an expression of interest in January 2018. Round 3 will open on 4th December and close at midday on 8th February 2019.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Renewable Heat Incentive
At the recent Round 2 roadshows a number of questions were raised in relation to Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments to private households and in particular the availability of such alongside WHF funding.
Affordable Warmth Solutions (AWS) have now received notification that Ofgem do not intend to consider WHF monies as being public funds. That being the case, we believe that applications for RHI should continue to be made to support additionality in bids to the WHF and that the recipient of the measure i.e. the householder, is able to apply for RHI funding. We would expect bidders to support householders in the RHI application process.
Whilst the final decision on individual RHI applications rests with Ofgem and there may be nuances that we have not foreseen, in most instances WHF funding should not preclude the application being successful.
Warm Homes Fund – Round Two: Category 3 Update
Energy Efficiency & Health Related Solutions to Fuel Poverty
To improve the quality and ambition of category 3 bids, we set out a requirement for an Expression of Interest (EOI) to be submitted by 5th January 2018. We have received 61 EOIs and have provided feedback to organisations for them to decide whether to develop a full bid.
As confirmed in our ‘Guidance for Bidders; Bid Round 2, November 2017’, category 3 bids are conditional on bidders submitting an EOI within the prescribed timescales. Therefore, if an organisation failed to submit an EOI then no bids will be accepted.
For those organisations who submitted an EOI, the following has been prepared and may provide further guidance.
Category 3 is referred to as providing energy efficiency and health related solutions. This is still within the context of fuel poverty and bidders should consider whether their application:
- Increases comfort in fuel poor households
- Helps reduce bills and allows households to keep warm for less
- Leverages other funding sources and develops new and existing local partnerships.
Successful category 3 bids will demonstrate that these aims will be met.
We are looking for bids that demonstrate ambition and innovation and those which target fuel poor households, particularly those living in the private sector. Specific points for consideration are:
- Employing additional people to do more of the same may not be considered innovative
- There is a lack of joined up thinking between County Councils and District and Borough Councils within the same county. A collaborative approach involving neighbouring authorities may demonstrate greater ambition and efficiencies for delivery
- We need to understand how the proposition supports fuel poverty and what evidence you will provide to demonstrate this. Funding will be linked to demonstrable outcomes
- Several propositions related to health referral schemes and whilst there are very worthwhile outcomes from these schemes, NHS benefits alone will not be enough to justify the use of the WHF funding
- The emergency fund has been established exactly for that – Emergencies. It has not been established to provide blankets, thick curtains, draught proofing or installation of panel heaters
We hope that these additional notes help in developing bids which will deliver real value in addressing fuel poverty.