The Mail’s revelations raise disturbing questions for First Minister Arlene Foster, who was energy minister of the Northern Ireland government at the time the bonanza subsidy rate was set in 2009.
Mrs Foster, pictured, also presided over the similar ‘Cash for Ash’ scandal, which brought down her government in 2017.
That flawed green scheme, called the Renewable Heat Incentive, paid customers more for using renewable energy than the actual cost of the fuel.
Some families left their boilers running 24/7, and irresponsible farmers heated empty barns.
For every £1 they spent on heating, they got back £1.60 in subsidies.
A damning public inquiry concluded earlier this year the scheme should never have been adopted.
Chairman Sir Patrick Coghlin was critical of the First Minister but allowed that she was given incorrect information by her officials.
He also warned that such a calamitous situation could happen again, saying: ‘There is no guarantee that the weaknesses shown in governance, staffing and leadership revealed by the inquiry’s investigation could not combine again.’
The cost of ‘Cash for Ash’ to taxpayers is up to £500million.
The new fiasco – which may come to be dubbed ‘Son of Cash for Ash’ – is potentially three times as expensive.