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Swansea Gas & Heating Scheme

Wales & West Utilities Fuel Poverty Grant Scheme contributes to ARBED Phase  1 – Wales Assembly Government Programme with a Gas & Heating Scheme at Pontarddulais & Clydach, Swansea.

Picture courtesy of Wales and West Utilities

A major scheme to extend the mains gas network to 223 homes in the communities of Pontarddulais & Clydach, Swansea has contributed to a highly successful, national programme of community energy performance investment and regeneration in Wales.  The £30 Million ARBED Phase 1 programme has been recognised as leading the way in Europe for its achievements in 12 months of delivery.

In March 2010, the Welsh Assembly Government launched a new programme – ARBED Phase 1 – designed to develop a more strategic coordinated approach to the work undertaken and investment made in improving domestic energy performance in Wales.  ARBED is Welsh for ‘saving’ and the principle aims of the new programme focused on the eradication of fuel poverty, reducing the impact of climate change, and boosting economic development and regeneration in Wales.

Warm Wales, Wales & West Utilities Fuel Poverty community interest partner, identified that many low income households in the communities of Pontarddulais and Clydach did not have access to a mains gas service.  While families living in some streets in the area had had the use of a cheaper fuel for many years, others were still using coal back boilers installed over 30 years ago and were not energy efficient.  The estates were built by the local authority, City & County of Swansea, in phases dating from the 1950’s to the 1970s.  Over the years, where the coal boilers had failed or where tenants had bought their own homes, some electric storage heaters, Oil or LPG boilers had been installed.  The two estates were located in areas selected by WAG for Strategic Regeneration programmes and ranked within the 25% most deprived areas in Wales.

The Wales & West Fuel Poverty Scheme contributed over £135,000 towards the £253,152 costs of the mains gas and service connections scheme.  This was a valuable contribution towards the match funding which WAG expected programmes to obtain.  In addition, heating grants worth over £480,000 were offered with the WWU Fuel Poverty Scheme (Carbon Energy Reduction Target funding and WAG  ARBED funding) to assist both the council and private home owners to install new, energy efficient gas boilers and heating systems.

The ARBED programme intended that low income households should have access to the benefits of renewable and low carbon technologies.  At Pontarddulais and Clydcah, some homes will receive both new gas heating and photovoltaic panels to provide free, solar generated electricity during the day.  Other homes will have both gas heating and compatible solar hot water equipment to further reduce their fuel costs.

Residents of Brynigao, Pontarddulais

39 families in Bryniago, Pontarddulais were living in one of the streets which benefits from a mains gas supply for the first time.  The homes were built in the 1970’s with coal central heating.

Mrs Sandra Toth

Mrs Toth was one of the original council tenants living on the estate and has had both a coal boiler and replacement oil boiler installed in her home.
She said: “My house feels much warmer in all the rooms and now the old oil boiler has been removed, I have more space in my kitchen.  I won’t have to worry about the increases in the price of oil any more.  It was just going up and up.  The gas supply will make things much easier as well.   It was an awful job for both the coal and the oil delivery men to reach my back garden to deliver.  They had to squeeze past both my neighbours back gardens to get to my house.  I’ve had solar electric panels fitted to the back roof of the house as well so I should be making quite a saving on my bills”

Miss Angharad Evans, Mr Jonathan Hire and Ronan (2 years)

Miss Evans has lived in Bryniago for 5 years and was using a coal back boiler to heat her home.

Miss Evans said: “The gas heating has made a big difference.  It feels much warmer in the house now and the new heating is much cleaner and less trouble than the old coal heating.”

Miss Kelly Babb, Mrs Jackie Maccarinelli & Miss Sharon Davies

Miss Babb, Mrs Maccarinelli and Miss Davies are all neighbours in Bryniago. The Wales & West Fuel Poverty Scheme meant that many council tenants such as Miss Babb and Miss Davies qualified for a grant and this helped to bring the gas main to the street so that home owners like Mrs Maccarinelli could afford to connect their homes as well.

Miss Davies said:  “I’ve lived here for 14 years. We have been paying about £30 per week to buy coal for heating so I’m expecting to make a saving now that we have gas heating.  The house has been much warmer in fact; it’s too warm at times!  Now we have really hot water whenever we need it.  Before, the water was only lukewarm and we had to use the immersion heater for hot water.  Otherwise, we would lose heating from half the rooms in the house while the old system heated up the water.”