New deal for fuel poverty problems
Hundreds of homes across Northern Ireland could be made proof against the threat of fuel poverty, thanks to a free package of energy saving measures.
NIE Energy says its new Energy Saver Homes scheme will replace tired old heating systems with a free heating conversion, free cavity and loft insulation and free energy saving light bulbs - transforming chilly, high-maintenance houses into welcoming homes.
Jenny Boyd from NIE Energy said the new package is targeted at people who are not eligible for Government schemes.
"A cold home or one that is costing more than it should to heat isn't good for the well-being of those living in it," she said.
"There are schemes out there to help people on benefits, but there didn't seem to be one for people not on benefits, but on low incomes. There was a bit of a gap there so we've breached it with this scheme.
"We hope to help a few hundred of our customers to at least feel more comfortable in a well heated and insulated home."
Energy Saver Homes will cover the cost of a new central heating system to replace electric and solid fuel systems or no heating at all.
Meanwhile, the free insulation will act like a blanket around the house, cutting energy bills further.
The scheme is for people who are 60-plus or with a disability or with young children and who are on low incomes.
For singles over 60, the income level is less than £230 per week and for couples or lone parent families, it is £346 per week.