The new funding arrangement will include £1.4m of the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland (HEEPS) and up to £4m from SSE (also known as Scottish Hydro) under its Energy Company Obligations (ECO).
SSE is working with eight local authorities across Scotland to roll out the programme. Homeowners or tenants living in privately rented accommodation, and in receipt of certain benefits, will receive free boilers and insulation to help reduce household energy use and heating bills.
Prior to this new partnership, SSE identified that many eligible homes in rural locations were unable to receive these free energy efficiency measures through ECO alone due to the high costs.
The additional funding secured from the Scottish Government means more homes will be eligible for energy efficiency measures that might otherwise be uneconomical to deliver.
Housing and Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess said: “Rising energy bills remain a huge concern for this government. The Scottish Government’s funding will potentially see thousands of homes receive measures like new boilers and loft and cavity wall insulation.
“The Scottish Government is determined to help householders stay warm and reduce their energy bills. Basic energy efficiency measures can make a huge difference to Scottish families who are struggling to make ends meet, allowing them to heat their homes more cost effectively.
“To help tackle fuel poverty we are actively working with councils and energy companies to ensure that Scotland continues to get its fair share of funding for efficiency programmes like these.”
The scheme will also help those with poor health or living in fuel poverty. SSE has implemented additional referral channels with health professionals such as local GPs and nurses, who can refer people who they think may be eligible for assistance.
SSE’s Area Development Manager, David Smith added: “This scheme is one of the many projects we are committed to under the Energy Company Obligation.
“It’s important that we tackle the problem of fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency of homes is a key way of achieving that.
“This new funding partnership with the Scottish Government and the introduction of new referral channels via health professionals and care organisations will help ensure more energy efficiency installations happen for those who need it most which is great news for households across Scotland.”
Norman Kerr, Director of fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland, said: “SSE and the Scottish Government are to be commended for working together to assist people living in energy-inefficient homes who would otherwise miss out.
“Rural areas are often worst affected by fuel poverty and so it is good news that people there will benefit from this new funding.
“It is also recognised that living in a cold home can be bad for health and therefore it makes sense to work with medical professionals who can refer people to get assistance.”
SSE will be working with councils in Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Moray, Dundee, Perth and Kinross, Falkirk, Fife and North Ayrshire to roll-out the scheme and is working to secure further partnerships.