Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Boiler scrappage scheme benefits thousands

A Worcester-Bosch combi boiler
The boiler scrappage scheme was launched in January

Some 44% of vouchers offering money off the cost of a new boiler have been claimed under the government's scrappage scheme for England.

Some 54,758 vouchers that take £400 off the cost of replacing an old boiler with a new efficient one have been claimed, with 70,000 still available.

The boiler scrappage scheme was announced in the pre-Budget report.

However, some in the industry have argued that the scheme does not go far enough to help those in need.

According to the government, the scheme is helping households cut their energy bills, reducing CO2 emissions and supporting thousands of jobs.

People who own their homes or landlords who rent homes are eligible, but social landlords, housing associations and boiler installers are not.

There are about 3.5 million homes in England with the least efficient types of boiler.

'High call rate'

The Energy Saving Trust (EST), which is running the programme for the government, said it had received 400,000 calls about the scheme.

HOW TO APPLY
Check your boiler is G-rated - the age or a permanent pilot light tend to indicate if it is
Ensure it is in working order and is the main boiler to heat the house
Shop around and arrange a quote for a new boiler from a qualified installer
Contact the Energy Saving Trust with details and receive a voucher before the work starts
Pay the installer in full, then send the receipt and the voucher to be refunded £400 - some suppliers will also offer £400 off the price

Just under 14% of these has translated to those taking up the offer.

"There are still thousands more vouchers to be claimed," said Fraser Winterbottom, of the EST.

The biggest take-up has been in the south east of England, where 9,387 vouchers have been issued. This was followed by the North West (8,186), with the smallest take-up in the North East (3,412).

Many of the larger energy companies have chosen to match the £400 cut with a £400 discount of their own.

Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said the scheme, which began on 18 January, was "incredibly popular", but one group representing plumbers and heating contractors said it "fell short" of helping those in the industry.

Clive Dickin, chief executive of the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors, said: "As far as our industry is concerned, it is a welcome boost but in the broader scheme of things it is of little significance.

"The 125,000 boiler installations equates to around one installation per plumbing and heating engineer in the UK so it is not going to make up for the terrible effects the recession has had on the industry."

Qualification

To qualify, households need to have a working G-rated boiler. It is likely to be G-rated if it is more than 15 years old and gas-fired.

A permanent pilot light is also a good indicator as to whether a gas boiler is G-rated. If the boiler is oil-fired and more than 25 years old, it is also likely to be eligible.

Householders aged under 60 can only apply if the boiler is the main boiler used to heat the home and is in working order. For those aged over 60, the device does not have to work.

Once the applicant has found out if their boiler qualifies for replacement, the next step is to arrange a quote for a new one from a qualified installer. This could cost anything between £2,000 and £3,000.

Then they need to provide the Energy Saving Trust (EST) with details of the old boiler and the installer they have chosen to fit the new one. The EST will also want confirmation the installer has actually visited the home and provided a proper quote for the work.

Assuming all that is in order, a voucher worth £400 will be issued. This will be refunded once the work has been done and the EST has received both the invoice for the work and the voucher. It is valid for 12 weeks.

The householder pays the bill in full to the installer and then claims the £400 back from the EST.

The £400 rebate should take no more than 25 working days from when the paperwork reaches the Trust.



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