Healthy homes scheme launched

Applications for a trial targeted rate scheme for installing insulation and clean heating in 500 Dunedin homes are open after the scheme recently received Dunedin City Council approval.

The scheme, run in partnership with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), is designed to improve the quality of housing in Dunedin.

It allows 500 ratepayers to effectively borrow up to $5000 from the council, which will borrow up to $2.5 million to fund the scheme. The ratepayer will repay the loan with interest over a 10-year period through a targeted rate on their property.

The scheme is cost neutral to the council, as "borrowers" will be charged an 8% interest rate, up from 7% under the original scheme, to cover the council's interest and other costs.

The scheme was originally expected to start in July, but general manager, city strategy and development Dr Sue Bidrose said changes had to be made to the original scheme to minimise some financial risks and other implications since identified.

The intention was always to have a scheme that would not be a cost burden on ratepayers, she said.

"The changes we have introduced mean that people who sign up won't end up being charged twice for GST and we have also been able to minimise costs associated with insurance and health safety issues."

The council now had an "effective and workable" partnership with the EECA to provide a scheme that made the subsidy available to Dunedin ratepayers.

Under the scheme, which is based on a successful Wellington model, the council will enter into contracts with the EECA, the approved service providers and ratepayers who opt to take up the scheme.

Service providers must comply fully with the EECA Heat Smart programme requirements, use approved products and be subject to audit requirements.

They must also maintain public liability insurance for six years following the end of the scheme.

The council will only contract with approved providers, although ratepayers can choose which of those providers they use.

The EECA still has subsidies available for insulation, although subsidies for clean heating have run out.

A council spokesman said people could still apply to the council for funding to install clean heating, but should be aware it would no longer attract an EECA subsidy.

About 100 people who had already contacted the council about the scheme would be contacted, and applications were also being taken via the council's customer services department.

An application form would soon be available on the council's website, he said.



The numbers


Indicative cost to borrower of servicing the rate. -

Borrowed:            Total cost over 10 years:


$2000                 $3360

$2500                 $4200

$3500                 $5890

$4000                 $6730

$4500                 $7570


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