The current number of applications outstanding is 106,179. Each of these applications will be at very different stages and will be eligible for a range of measures. Some customers will be awaiting survey, others will be awaiting work to be installed and others will have an outstanding contribution to make to the cost of the work.
It is not possible to quantify the exact number of applicants who are currently without heating. Some households will have a heating system with an intermittent fault, others may have intermediate forms of secondary heating and others may be waiting for a heating measure to replace an unreliable and inefficient system. It is not therefore possible to quantify at any exact moment how many households with an outstanding application are without heating.
Where an excess payment is required, Warm Front will always be willing to provide clients with advice about sourcing funding from external organisations to help them meet their contribution. Eaga plc, the present Scheme Manager, has well established relationships with such organisations throughout the country and can offer advice and assistance when it is requested.
DECC is aware that some customers have difficulties making a financial contribution. We are currently assessing ways in which we can help customers to make full use of the scheme. Part of this analysis will include considering whether the grants are set at the most suitable levels.
Funding to Warm Front was increased in the pre-Budget report by £100 million, with another £50 million in spending bought forward. We want to make sure as many households as possible get the help they need.
Warm Front is not designed to act as an emergency service and the Scheme Manager's target timescales reflect the overarching need to make the best use of the money available. At present the Scheme Manager has a target to complete all heating work within 120 working days of survey. In practice, the average waiting time is less than 65 days for the installation of a heating measure following the initial survey.
However, the Department does recognise that some applicants are in need of urgent assistance and we are currently looking at ways of reducing these timescales for the most vulnerable clients. Any decisions will be announced in due course.
Following the installation of a Warm Front system, the scheme provides a 24-hour emergency breakdown service in case issues arise, which has a target response time of 48 hours.