The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government-run energy efficiency programme in the United Kingdom that aims to reduce carbon emissions while also addressing fuel poverty.
The programme began in April 2013 and has since been updated. The most recent policy, ECO3, went into effect on December 3, 2018, and it applies to initiatives performed after October 1, 2018.
Recently the UK government has announced intentions to boost its Energy Company Obligation (ECO) investment to £1 billion per year until 2026, with the goal of improving energy efficiency for low-income and vulnerable homes.
On February 11, the government announced its Fuel Strategy Policy for England, promising to spend £60 million on retrofitting social housing and £150 million on the Home Upgrade Grant, as well as expanding ECO to allow larger energy suppliers to install efficiency measures.
If you meet one of the following criteria, you may be eligible for financial assistance to make energy-saving modifications to your home:
- Claiming certain benefits while living in a private residence (for example you own your home or rent from a private landlord)
- Reside in a public housing complex
You may be eligible for assistance with the costs of:
- Insulation work, such as in your loft or cavity walls
- Boiler replacement or repair – or other heating upgrades
From 2022, the annual ECO spending commitment is also expected to increase 56% from £640 million to £1 billion. The policy states that this commitment is “designed to align with other domestic energy efficiency policies in social housing and the private rented sector”.
“We plan for ECO to focus on insulating the worst-quality homes in England and improving them as near to an EPC as is financially effective and fit for the property,” it stated.
The ECO is an energy efficiency scheme that was first implemented in 2013 and places legal duties on major energy suppliers to supply energy efficiency measures to households in the UK. The scheme focuses on insulation and heating measures and is meant to help disadvantaged individuals.
Following a dialogue with suppliers, researchers, and policymakers, the government has made some further critical improvements to the plan, such as requiring ECO suppliers to obtain TrustMark certification.
Where applicable, the government stated that ECO installations must now be registered with TrustMark, which will “raise standards and boost confidence in the energy efficiency industry,” according to the government. Similarly, all vendors participating in the government’s Green Homes Grant must be TrustMark registered.
Following the consultation, the government determined that a “successor” to the ECO scheme would be planned, and that more needed to be done to ensure that fuel efficiency programmes like ECO are better targeted to individuals who are living in fuel poverty.
If you claim benefits and live in private housing
You might be eligible for help if you live in private housing and get one of the following benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits
- War Pensions Mobility Supplement
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Universal Credit
- Pension Guarantee Credit – you will not be eligible if you only claim Pension Savings Credit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Disability Living Allowance
If you rent, you must get permission from the landlord before doing any work.
If you live in social housing
If you reside in social housing with an energy efficiency grade of E, F, or G, you may be eligible for assistance with insulation or the installation of a new heating system.
Any person receiving 'any' type of support is eligible to a free installation of a 'new' boiler to help decrease carbon emissions and manage the cost of bills, thanks to government targets on home efficiency. This service is entirely free.