The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme that aims to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions. The scheme was originally launched in April 2013 and has been amended over time. The latest policy update was EC03 which came into effect from December 2018. The EC03 update consists of one distinct obligation called the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO).
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There are a lot of official names and terms for this overall scheme but the basic plan for it is to help people lower their home heating costs by using energy-efficient measures and materials.
To qualify for the scheme, the applicant needs to be a “core group customer from scheme year nine onwards under the Warm Home Discount Scheme”.
Alternatively in a more likely scenario, the applicant can qualify through income requirements and by receiving certain beneifits.
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Having efficient insulations could save people a lot of money on their bills (Image: GETTY)
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The qualifying benefits are:
Armed Forces Independence PaymentAttendance AllowanceCarer’s AllowanceChild 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 AllowanceDisability Living AllowancePension Guarantee CreditIncome-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)Income SupportIndustrial Injuries Disablement BenefitMobility SupplementPersonal Independence PaymentSevere Disablement AllowanceTax Credits (Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits)Universal Credit
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Additionally, those living in social housing could also be eligible for the scheme.
On top of this eligibility criteria, the applicant must either own their home or have permission from a landlord, social housing provider or management company.
For those who qualify, they could receive free cavity wall and loft insulations and/or a heavily subsidised gas boiler replacement.
Once these insulations have been made, consumers could save hundreds of pounds on their bills throughout the year.
This scheme is officially backed by the Government (Image: GETTY)
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To apply for this scheme, applicants will need to contact energy firms directly. Many household names offer the scheme, including EDF and NPower.
To begin with, applicants will need to answer basic questions to determine their eligibility and may also need details for their existing boilers.
A date will then need to be booked in for a technical survey with one of the firms members of staff, who will likely be an installer.
This installer will evaluate what options are available for the applicant and the survey should happen relatively quickly after the initial call.
The scheme is also designed to improve the carbon footprint of properties (Image: GETTY)
Once these steps are done, the installer will provide a home visit to assess the property and equipment will be needed. Finally, the installation itself will occur and the applicant should receive a new warranty and various other documents.
The companies providing the services should not restrict this offering to existing customers. Although, it should be noted that the scheme is currently scheduled to run until March 2022. It is unclear what may happen with the scheme beyond that so applying now would be advisable for those who qualify.
If there are any problems with this service applicants are encouraged to first approach the company providing the upgrades. However, Ofgem itself can also be contacted for assistance. Ofgem also has a dedicated section on its website for progress within the ECO scheme, with many public reports available