A POSSIBLE £340,000 could be generated for Powys County Council (PCC) from a fuel poverty scheme .

But, the figure from a report on ECO3 is “a guesstimate” as council staff stress it is not a “money making scheme.”

The new Statement of Intent (SOI) for the ECO3 was looked at by the Economy, Residents, Communities and Governance Scrutiny Committee at their meeting on Monday, February 24.

The roll out of ECO3 has been delayed by several months in Powys to allow an investigation to take place into it’s predecessor, ECO2.

Powys Plumbing Group (PPG) claimed that people earning more than £21,000 a year, the threshold to qualify, were receiving free boilers.

ECO3 will be administered by not for profit company Warm Wales, following recommendations by SWAP, the council’s internal auditor who investigated the fraud claims last year.

Committee chairman, Cllr Mathew Dorrance, (Labour – Brecon St John), said: “Clearly this is going to be an income generation project for the Council, because at the end of it, it will have netted £340,000 in new income.

“Am I reading that right?

Senior housing officer, Julian Preece, replied: “We will generate a certain amount of income but that is based on covering our costs.

“We don’t know what the demand is going to be so this is very much a guesstimate.

“It’s an estimate in effect.”

Cllr Dorrance; “Estimates are all well and good but that figure must be predicated on something.”

Mr Preece, continued: “That figure was £200,000 which was what we generated in the first part of the scheme (ECO2).”

He explained that this figure would be added to what is made from ECO3 and that total could be £340,000.

CllrJeremy Pugh (Action for Powys – Builth Wells) asked for an explanation on how the fees process works.

Mr Preece, explained: “Warm Wales are looking to charge £60 plus VAT for every applicant that they vet and check.

“We charge £150 for the declaration, so there’s £90 for us potentially.

“But we don’t know how it will work, if it’s not financially viable for Warm Wales to deliver the scheme at the prices indicated, then there is wiggle room.

“The fee to Warm Wales comes out of our charge for the declaration.”

ECO2  ran from April 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018 and 2,048 measures (boilers or insulation) were delivered across Powys which generated £231,000 for PCC.

The report by SWAP also revealed that PCC lost nearly £270,000 as another 1,782 assessments had been made but the bills had not been sent out by the time the scheme came to an end.

ECO is a UK government energy efficiency scheme administered by

OFGEM, which is designed to reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel

poverty throughout Wales and the rest of the UK.

Energy companies are supposed to contribute to funding the scheme.

ECO3 is the third version of the scheme and will run until March 31, 2022.