AUDITORS are set to tell Powys County Council (PCC) if there has been any wrongdoing administrating a grant scheme that helps people in fuel poverty.

Powys Plumbing Group (PPG) contacted councillors back in January about suspected “widespread fraud” with the Eco2 boiler grant scheme.

They believe that the next grant scheme Eco3 could be even worse.

Somerset based Internal Auditors, SWAP – have been asked to investigate and are to report back to PCC at the end of the week.

The scheme is supposed to help vulnerable households living in fuel poverty cut their energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by installing energy saving measures such as insulation and high efficiency boilers.

Funded by energy companies, to qualify for the scheme, households should have an income of less than £21,000.

PPG claim that households with an income of more than £60,000 could receive help.

They believe the council’s proposals for the ECO3 scheme would have “devastating consequences” for hundreds of businesses, their employees and the Powys economy if implemented in its current format.

PPG says: “We’re very concerned how thorough this investigation will be, as nobody has contacted us to date and asked to examine any of the supporting evidence we have to back up our suspicions.”

“We feel there are questions that need to be addressed if the council want to prevent their upcoming Eco3 scheme being abused in the same way as Eco2.”

“As Eco3 is a much bigger scheme it could put in jeopardy the survival of many local plumbing and heating businesses and independent plumbing merchants.”

PCC director of environment, Nigel Brinn, who has been discussing concerns with PPG  said: “Please can I reassure you that we will not be progressing the Eco3 scheme until we have the results of the SWAP report and taken full account of its contents.”

Mr Brinn also points out that Ecoflex is not a PCC scheme and parts of it are out of their control and that SWAP will be in touch to talk to SWAP about their concerns.

A spokesman for Powys County Council confirmed: “SWAP has been commissioned to look into this matter and are due to report back their findings on March 15.”

In January, the  Health, Care and Housing Scrutiny Committee was due to look at “proposition for the adoption of Eco3, the successor to Eco2, and provide recommendations to the Cabinet.

But councillors who had received the letter decided to defer the issue and also asked for Eco3’s implementation to be postponed until the letter had been investigated.

A report on the findings of the report and progressing Eco3 is expected to go to Cabinet and probably a Scrutiny Committee before it can be implemented.