The Energy Company Obligation Scheme
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme aiming to make homes more energy efficient and help reduce carbon emissions and alleviate fuel poverty. It provides funding for insulation and broken or inefficient heating systems.
Since 2013 more than 3 million UK homes have been helped in this way, but this final version of the scheme aims to go a lot further.
Please read on to find out more about the scheme, how it might benefit you and to find out if you are eligible.
The ECO Fund
The ECO grant scheme (the latest version of which is called ‘ECO4’) is a key part of the government’s commitment and will run until March 2026. Its aim is to support low-income householders who are unable to make their homes more energy efficient or upgrade their heating systems.
What does ECO4 cover?
Heating and insulation improvements (loft and cavity wall) may be available under the scheme. Unfortunately, doors and windows are not part of the ECO4 scheme.
1. Home Insulation
The ECO4 scheme aims to make homes well insulated before it focuses on the installation of new heating systems. For example, a home with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Rating of ‘D’ or below would require adequate loft or cavity wall insulation before heating systems can be upgraded.
For your property to be considered, an awareness of the existing Loft Insulation depth and whether Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) or External/Internal Wall Insulation (EWI/IWI) is present will assist in determining your eligibility. To consider having either External Wall Insulation or Internal Wall Insulation would mean a significant customer contribution at present.
2. Boiler Repair or Replacement and Green Heating Systems
The ECO4 scheme seeks to repair or upgrade an efficient heating system wherever possible, before considering the installation of a new system. Where an existing system cannot be repaired or upgraded, ECO4 will seek greener alternatives, ruling out the installation of older systems such as coal fired, or LPG fuelled heating which produce comparatively high levels of carbon emissions.
The focus is on updating old non-condensing boilers to new condensing boilers. It is helpful when calling about this scheme to have made a note of your boiler age, make and model to determine if your heating system is eligible to be replaced or upgraded. What Are The Different Types Of Boiler? – Which?
The culmination of these works is to ensure that your home makes on average two bands progress on the EPC (e.g., D/E to a C or F/G to a D) The likelihood is that your home would need a heating and insulation improvement made, such as a boiler upgrade and wall and loft insulation.
Energy Performance Certificate Information
Your property may have already had an Energy Performance Certificate completed, which you can check by looking it up on the government website: Find an energy certificate – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). If you have completed any other home improvements regarding your heating or insulation since, these are useful to ensure eligibility for the scheme.
If you do not have and EPC and would like to get one you can, at a cost, purchase one by contacting a registered EPC assessor. You can do this on the government- endorsed quality scheme for home improvements via the TrustMark website: https://www.trustmark.org.uk/homeowner.
Who might be eligible for ECO4?
The ECO4 scheme aims to reach vulnerable householders living in the least energy efficient properties in the UK. It is available to those on means tested benefits as well as those who may not be receiving benefits but might have a low income and live in an energy inefficient home or are vulnerable to the cold. The scheme is open to those in private rented accommodation as well as to those who own their own homes.
Please see below the list of qualifying benefits:
- Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support (IS)
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit (PCGC)
- Working Tax Credit (WTC)
- Child Tax Credit (CTC)
- Universal Credit (UC)
- Housing Benefit
- Pension Credit Savings Credit (PCSC)
- Child Benefit (subject to income caps and composition)*
*ECO4 Child Benefit income thresholds (before tax and National Insurance):
|Type of claimant
|Number of children or qualifying young persons
|4 or more
|2 or more claimants
Proof required: the last three payslips for all adults in the property or the most recent P60 + 3 months bank statements of all bank accounts; proof of all adults in the property e.g. tenancy agreement or Council Tax bill.
Qualifying through ECO4 ‘Flex’
Even if you do not qualify for the ECO4 scheme through the above benefits entitlement method, you may qualify under ECO4 ‘Flex’ which is conditional to each Local Authority area.
Currently not all Councils have published their Statement of Intent in order to offer ECO4 Flex. Please check with your Local Council website for further information. An Expression of Interest can be made to Act on Energy to register your heating and insulation needs.
How to apply for ECO4/ECO4 Flex
If you think you might like to apply for energy related measures under the ECO4/ECO4 Flex scheme, please call us on:
0800 988 2881
When you call in to register your interest, please make it clear what heating and insulation measures you already have. These include the make and model of your boiler and what insulation you know your home already has. We need the most up to date information to help you as quickly as possible, but don’t worry if you do not know what measures your property has – we can still help.
Great British Insulation Scheme
A new government scheme called the Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS) has just been launched. GBIS will be a single measure scheme for insulation (loft + cavity wall), offering easy gains on a property’s insulation.
Those eligible for support under the Great British Insulation Scheme include families in council tax bands A-D in England, A-E in Scotland and Wales, with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or below.
Loft insulation will benefit clients with a floor area of 72m2 and below (this can be found on your EPC if you have one.)
Restrictions may apply for Private Rented Tenants
You can find the Government’s information on this scheme:
Call us to register your interest on:
0800 988 2881
Please be aware that not all measures will be fully funded, and you may have to contribute to the final cost if you choose to go ahead. Any works are done at the homeowner’s own risk and the work is an agreement between the homeowner and the contractor. Prior to starting works, please check with the installer who will make you aware of any personal contribution that might be required.
The process for all referrals is as follows:
- The installer will confirm that you are an Owner Occupier and complete a Department of Work & Pensions benefit check to confirm your eligibility.
- If eligibility is approved, the installer will book and carry out the survey.
- Once the survey is complete, the installer will review the information. All cases are subject to this survey but please note that the installer has no obligation to proceed to installations if for any reason they deem the property unsuitable.
- If the works are approved to go ahead, the agreed date for installation will be booked by the installer.
Please remember that even after the survey has taken place, you are not obliged to proceed.
The exact level of funding will be determined by the installer who will advise after the technical survey has taken place. Please be aware that all works undertaken to your property are at your own risk and that you must obtain all necessary documentation from the installer pre and post install.
This is not an emergency scheme, and the process may take some time with several visits to your property throughout the process.
This webpage has been last updated on 11.10.2023, 15:30 GMT (UTC+1)