The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to tackle fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions. Cornwall is ranked as one of the top 10 areas in the UK for fuel poverty being a low income household with high heating costs. Around half of Cornish properties are not connected to mains gas which remains the cheapest form of heating a property.
On average 20,000 lives are lost due to illness over Winter attributed to cold and damp homes throughout the UK. Since 2015 Cornwall Council has secured Government funding in order to reduce fuel poverty homes in the County. Together with the ECO grant improvements to your home maybe cheaper than you think.
How ECO works
Under ECO, medium and larger energy suppliers fund the installation of energy efficiency measures in British households.
Each obligated supplier has an overall target based on its share of the domestic energy market in Britain.
The obligated energy suppliers work with installers to introduce certain efficiency measures into your home, such as loft or wall insulation, or heating measures.
The ECO3 scheme consists of one distinct obligation: the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO).
Discounts are also available under the Warm Home Discount which applies a £140 rebate to gas and electricity bills which is normally applied automatically. If you are a pensioner or a fuel poor customer of a company within the Core group (>250,000 customers) contact your energy provider to claim this rebate.
The obligation explained
The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation requires energy suppliers to promote the installation of measures that lead to financial savings on energy bills, such as the installation of insulation and heating measures.
You are eligible for ECO if you are a core group customer from scheme year 9 onwards under the Warm Home Discount Scheme or you receive at least one of the following benefits and satisfy the relevant income requirements, where applicable:
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Child Benefit (on the condition that the household’s relevant income does not exceed the amount set out in Chapter 3 of our scheme guidance)
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Pension Guarantee Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income Support
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Mobility Supplement
- Personal Independence Payment
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Tax Credits (Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits)
- Universal Credit
Alternatively, if you are living in social housing with an EPC rating of E, F or G you might also be eligible for the scheme. Social housing with an EPC rating of D can also qualify for an innovation measure.
Cornwall Council are also able to refer residents to obligated energy suppliers so that they can be offered support under the scheme.
Under ECO3 there is an additional in-fill mechanism for solid wall insulation and district heating measures. Under this mechanism if 66% of eligible households receive either of these measures, an adjacent property can also receive the same measure without needing to meet the eligibility criteria.
Can I benefit from ECO?
In order to benefit from ECO you must own your own home or have the permission of your landlord, including if your property is owned by a social housing provider or management company.
If you live in England or Wales and would like advice on energy efficiency, including energy saving schemes such as ECO, which you may be able to benefit from, the Simple Energy Advice website offers impartial energy efficiency advice.
You can also contact any of the obligated suppliers to find out how they may be able to help you. You can benefit from ECO regardless of who you purchase your energy from. You don’t need to buy energy from an obligated supplier in order to benefit.
You may be contacted directly by an installer claiming to be working under the ECO scheme. If the company claims to be an installer, always ask to see the following credentials: for most measures, installers under ECO must be PAS 2030:2017 (Publicly Available Specification) accredited, and will have a registration number. If they are installing microgeneration measures (e.g. measures that produce heat) they need to be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited and will be registered on the MCS website. All companies repairing or replacing a gas boiler must be registered with Gas Safe.
It is important to note that eligibility for ECO does not necessarily mean that an energy supplier or installer will decide to install an energy efficiency measure in your home.
Cornwall Council has been working with Building for Humanity to address the Fuel Poverty issue which affects more than 15% of Cornish properties. Last year works were completed to over 900 homes. Improvement works include;
- Internal wall insulation with a value of up to £25,000
- Room in roof insulation with a value of up to £15,000
- Loft insulation with a value of up to £2,500
- Underfloor insulation with a value of up to £3,000
- Boiler replacement with a value of up to £3,750
- First time central heating system with a value of up to £10,000
- Electric storage heaters with a value of up to £7,000
If you believe you are eligible to benefit from the ECO grant and would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Source: Reducing Fuel Poverty