A couple from Cwmllynfell who are among the first to take up a new free oil central heating offer paid for by Neath Port Talbot Council and the nationwide Warm Homes Fund (WHF) are recommending others follow their example.
Gwilym Evans, 69, and his wife Novella, 59, had a brand new oil-fired boiler, plus a storage tank and five new radiators installed in February this year at the home in Bryn Road, Cwmllynfell, where they have lived for the past 36 years.
Their new heating system replaces the inefficient, old coal fired boiler the couple previously used with retired former site manager Mr Evans describing the new installation as “brilliant”.
He said: ”We even had 100 litres of fuel put in for free as well so the new system could be commissioned. It’s very efficient and easy to use, all we have to do is adjust the thermostat.”
The Warm Homes Fund (WHF) is a £150million fund established by National Grid and administered by Affordable Warmth Solutions across England, Scotland and Wales
to install first-time oil central heating plus energy saving measures into “fuel poor”, rural homes unable to access gas supplies.
A household is considered fuel poor if it spends more than 10% of household income on energy and if more than 20% of household income goes on energy bills they are deemed to be in extreme fuel poverty.
In Neath Port Talbot, £1.7m is being made available for the scheme with £1.1m coming from the Warm Homes Fund (WHF) and the rest from Neath Port Talbot Council.
The homes which can qualify for grants in the Neath Port Talbot scheme will currently be heated by solid fuel, electric storage heaters or gas fires - expensive forms of heating which force many families to spend more than they need to on energy.
The aim is to target households and houses with the lowest energy efficiency ratings. These properties will be prioritised along with households that have elderly vulnerable or disabled people living in them. To qualify for a grant under the scheme your property must be approximately 2km or more from a mains gas supply.
To confirm you are applying for this grant please ensure you speak to a member of staff from Neath Port Talbot Council as there could be other companies and organisations delivering similar grants but they may ask you to make a payment.
The grant offered by Neath Port Talbot Council however is free to home owners and private rented tenants though private landlords will be required to pay a 25% contribution towards the cost of the works. The Council will not be able to offer a grant to tenants of Registered Social Landlords.
If you are interested in applying for one of the grants please complete the questionnaire form which can be downloaded here: https://www.npt.gov.uk/17107 by either completing it online and returning or printing it off and returning it to NPTCBC, King Edward House, 110 London Road, Neath SA11 1HL or email firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like more information on the scheme or obtaining a form you can contact the team on 01639 686440.
A Council spokesman said: “Our objective is to increase comfort for households and give them a more affordable and manageable heating system, lowering bills and enabling households to keep warm for less.
“If you express an interest and are eligible for the grant our team will visit you to go through your options, we will offer advice on ways to save energy and look at other energy saving measures for your home such as loft insulation, draft proofing, we will also look to identify other funding sources to install further energy saving measures where possible.”
Mr and Mrs Evans, who have two daughters and five grand-children, say they are delighted with their new heating system and added: “We’d recommend others who qualify now take up this excellent offer to update their heating.”