ECO – Energy Efficiency Programme

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is designed to complement the domestic Green Deal  in a number of  areas. For some of the most effective energy efficiency programme, Green Deal  finance alone will not be able to cover the upfront cost of the measures: ECO will combine with Green Deal finance to make these measures affordable under the green Deal.

It is the Government’s new domestic energy efficiency programme which has replaced the existing CERT and CESP programmes, both of which come to a close at the end of 2012. ECO works alongside the Green Deal to provide additional support for packages of energy efficiency programme to low-income and vulnerable households and insulation measures to low-income communities. ECO creates a legal obligation on energy suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of households through the establishment of three distinct targets:

The Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (20.9 million lifetime tonnes of carbon dioxide):

Focusing on hard to treat homes and, in particular, measures that cannot be fully funded through the Green Deal. Solid wall insulation and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation are the primary measures that the Government intends to be promoted under this target. Other insulation measures and connections to district heating systems are also eligible if they are promoted as part of a package that includes solid wall insulation or hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation.

The Carbon Saving Community Obligation (6.8 million lifetime tonnes of carbon dioxide):

Focusing on the provision of insulation measures and connections to district heating systems to domestic energy users that live within an area of low income. This target has a sub-target, which states that at least 15% of each supplier’s Carbon Saving Community Obligation must be achieved by promoting measures to low income and vulnerable households living in rural areas.

The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (£4.2bn of lifetime cost savings):

Requiring energy suppliers to provide measures which improve the ability of low income and vulnerable households (the ‘Affordable Warmth Group’) to affordably heat their homes. A heating qualifying action is the installation of a measure that will result in a heating saving; including the replacement or repair of a qualifying boiler.

Eligibility:

To qualify to ECO energy efficiency programme, someone in your household must meet one of the following criteria, or receive one of the following benefits or benefit combinations:

1. State Pension Credit
2. Child Tax Credits and have a household income of less than £15,860
3. Income – related employment and support allowance

PLUS one of these: Receive a work-related activity or support component, Has parental responsibility for a qualifying child, Child tax credit which includes a disability or severe disability element, A disabled child premium, A disability premium, A pensioner premium

4. Working Tax Credit and has a relevant income of £15,860 or less

PLUS one of these: Has parental responsibility for a qualifying child, Is in receipt of a disabled worker element or severe disability element, Is aged 60 years or over

5. Income Support or Income-based job seeker’s allowance

PLUS one of these: Has parental responsibility for a qualifying child, Child tax credit which includes a disability or severe disability element, A disabled child premium, A disability premium, A pensioner premium

6. Live in a government chosen postcode

NOTE: If you don’t meet any of these criteria, you could still get help paying for home improvements, check out our page on the Green Deal the other energy efficiency programme

Assessment

You can apply to ECO Energy Efficiency Programme through your energy supplier. Once your energy supplier confirms that you’re eligible, an energy advisor from one of their certified installers visit you to carry out an assessment of your home. The installer will then confirm which improvements are most appropriate for your home. You will then be asked for proof of eligibility for ECO Energy Efficiency Programme. Please note that if you are a tenant, you will need permission from your landlord to install improvements in your home.

Installation

The energy advisor will recommend suitable improvements and their installation, based on the assessment of your home. In order to have these improvements fitted in your home, you will need to agree to a contract with the installer. The work will be carried out by qualified installers.

Source: OFGEM

Further information can also be found on the Department of Energy and Climate Change website