FAQs: installers and industry

ECO introduction and getting involved

1. What is ECO?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is an energy efficiency scheme for Great Britain. ECO places legal obligations on larger energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic premises. It focuses on insulation and heating measures and supports vulnerable consumer groups. ECO is intended to assist in reducing carbon emissions, maintaining security of energy supply and reducing fuel poverty.

2. What obligations does ECO include?

ECO has three distinct obligations: 

  • Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO): the installation of wall and roof insulation measures, connections to district heating systems (DHS), and ‘secondary’ insulation measures 
  • Carbon Savings Community Obligation (CSCO): the installation of insulation measures and connections to DHS in areas of low income, areas adjoining a low income area, rural areas (if promoted to people in receipt of certain benefits) and deprived rural areas.
  • Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO): the installation of insulation and the repair and replacement of boilers and electric storage heaters, to people receiving certain benefits and living in private domestic premises. This is also known as the ‘Affordable Warmth’. 

3. What measures can be installed under ECO?

Measures installed under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) and the Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO) must improve the insulating properties of the premises or provide for a connection to a district heating system. Measures installed under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) must reduce the cost of heating the premises

The Measures Table has a non-exhaustive list of the energy efficiency measures which suppliers can install to meet their ECO2 obligations and which measures can be installed under each of the three obligations. It also shows their in-use factors and lifetimes to assist with calculating savings.

4. How can I get involved?

If installers are interested in delivering ECO measures, they should get in touch with an obligated supplier or Green Deal Provider.

You could also use ECO Brokerage, which is an auction-based mechanism that enables suppliers to buy forward contracts to deliver ECO measures from participating authorised sellers. Ofgem E-Serve does not administer ECO Brokerage. For more information and to access the service, visit the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy website. 

5. How can I apply to have a new measure introduced to ECO?

Although Ofgem E-Serve administers the ECO scheme, we do not approve products. 

All ECO measures must result in a reduction in carbon emissions or the cost of heating for the premises. This must be calculated using SAP or RdSAP, or using an appropriate methodology (submitted by a supplier in advance of installation, and approved by Ofgem E-Serve).

For savings from your product to be calculated in SAP or RdSAP, it needs to be listed in Appendix Q to SAP.

The process for getting your product listed on Appendix Q is available online.

If you are interested in contacting an obligated energy supplier regarding your product, their details are on our website.

6. When does ECO2 finish?

The ECO2 obligation period ends 31 March 2017.

BEIS is currently considering an extension to the ECO2 obligation period. The consultation on the extension closed on 17 August 2016 and the government response is expected in late 2016 or early 2017.

Our response to the BEIS consultation is on our website and outlines how we might administrate the proposed changes, if they’re introduced.

7. My question is not answered in the FAQs, where else can I look?

The ECO2 Guidance: Delivery is a comprehensive document for anyone looking for in-depth information regarding ECO.

If you still have questions, please contact us at eco@ofgem.gov.uk

Carbon reduction measures (CERO/CSCO)

1. What measures are eligible under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO)?

CERO focuses on the installation of wall and roof insulation measures, as well as district heating systems. These measures are known as ‘primary measures’. Other insulation measures such as glazing can be claimed as ‘secondary measures’ if they are promoted as part of a package that includes a primary measure.
These measures can be claimed as primary measures under CERO:

  • flat roof insulation
  • loft insulation
  • rafter insulation
  • room-in-roof insulation
  • wall insulation (including solid wall insulation, internal wall insulation, external wall insulation, cavity wall insulation and party wall insulation)
  • insulation of a mobile home
  • a relevant district heating connection.

For a non-exhaustive list of measures available under CERO, please refer to our ECO2 Measures Table.

2. What measures are eligible under the Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO)?

Measures installed under the Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO) must improve the insulating properties of the premises or provide for a connection to a district heating system. The measures need to be installed at domestic premises in areas of low income, areas adjoining a low income area, rural areas (if promoted to people in receipt of certain benefits) and deprived rural areas. To help you identify postcodes in areas eligible for CSCO measures please go to the CSCO Tool.

For a non-exhaustive list of measures available under CSCO please refer to our ECO2 Measures Table.

3. What is the rural sub-obligation under CSCO?

The rural sub-obligation is a sub-obligation under the (CSCO). Suppliers must achieve at least 15% of their total CSCO by either promoting qualifying actions to members of the affordable warmth group (AWG) living in a rural area or to any domestic premises in a deprived rural area. Our online CSCO Tool helps you to identify areas that are considered rural areas or deprived rural areas.

To be a member of the AWG, a person must be in receipt of certain benefits and satisfy a number of qualifying components. The definition of the AWG is explained in Chapter 6 of our ECO2 Guidance: Delivery. For more information on the AWG eligibility criteria, please see our AWG guidance note.

4. How do I know if premises are in a low income, rural, deprival rural or an ‘adjoining’ area?

We have launched an online CSCO Tool to help obligated suppliers, the ECO supply chain and consumers identify areas which are eligible for the installation of measures under CSCO.

A list of the areas of low income (as defined by the ECO Order) is in the 2014 low income and rural document published by BEIS.

An adjoining area refers to an area which shares a border with an area of low income. A supplier may achieve part of its CSCO by installing CSCO qualifying actions at domestic premises in a specified adjoining area.

Adjoining areas cannot extend across the England-Scotland border. There is also a limit to the carbon savings that a supplier may claim for adjoining installations. You can find information about adjoining areas in Chapter 5 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery.

Cost saving measures (HHCRO)

1. When can a boiler be replaced or repaired under HHCRO?

Under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO), a boiler can be repaired or replaced if it results in a reduction in heating costs for the premises and meets certain conditions. There are three eligible boiler measures: non-qualifying boiler installations, qualifying boiler replacements, and qualifying boiler repairs. For more information about the definition of qualifying boiler and eligibility criteria, please refer to Chapter 6 and Appendix 3 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery.

2. What is the affordable warmth group (AWG)?

To be a member of the affordable warmth group (AWG) the person must in receipt of certain benefits. The person who a measure is delivered to under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) must be either a member of the affordable warmth group (AWG) or must live with a member. Information about the types of benefits a person must receive to be a member of the AWG is in Chapter 6 and Appendix 2 of our ECO2 Guidance: Delivery.

More information on how to prove receipt of a qualifying benefit is in our AWG guidance note.

3. How can the data matching service be used to identify affordable warmth group customers?

A data matching service has been set up by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to assist installers and suppliers by confirming affordable warmth group (AWG) eligibility without the need to obtain benefit letters from the consumer.

Through this service, you can provide basic customer details to the EST who will then send this to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to confirm that the customer receives an eligible benefit. If the DWP confirms this (via EST), this can be used to demonstrate that a person is a member of the AWG. If a supplier wishes to rely on a DWP confirmation, it must include the reference number provided by EST when notifying the measure, this is the ‘DWP reference number’ in the notification template. No further documentation will be required to demonstrate the AWG membership of that person.

This service is not free and installers may arrange a contract with the data matching service provider (EST) if they wish to sign up. For further information on how to sign up please contact Energy Saving Trust at Referrals@est.org.uk.

4. How can the Energy Saving Advice Service be used to identify affordable warmth group (AWG) customers?

One of the ways suppliers can demonstrate that consumers are eligible AWG members is through a referrals system administered by the Energy Saving Advice Service (ESAS) in England and Wales. The ESAS service is no longer available in Scotland. However, Ofgem E-Serve will still accept ‘matched’ Home Energy Scotland (HES) references dated within 18 months before the completion of the measure as verification of AWG eligibility. 

The ESAS referrals service directs interested consumers to ECO obligated energy suppliers. This service includes verification of customer AWG eligibility benefits via a link with the Department of Work and Pensions. This service produces a unique reference number for each referral that is then provided to an obligated supplier.

Suppliers can only produce a ‘matched’ reference number as part of their monthly notification of the relevant measure to demonstrate AWG eligibility.

Find out more about ESAS on the Energy Saving Trust website.

5. What evidence is needed to confirm a measure has been installed in private domestic premises?

Under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO), measures must be delivered to private domestic premises. Private domestic premises are, in general, not owned or let by a social landlord.

Where the premises are registered, a Land Registry extract must be used to evidence that the premises are private domestic premises. Generally, if the relevant interest is registered as belonging to an individual person, we will be satisfied the premises are private domestic premises. If the premises are not registered, the further documents which can be used to evidence private domestic premises can be found in our private domestic premises guidance note and Appendix 2 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery.

6. If the premises are let by a social landlord, under what circumstances can someone still be eligible under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO)?

Where premises are registered on the relevant registry (the Land Registry, the Land Register of Scotland or the Register of Sasines) as belonging to a social landlord, the premises may still be eligible as private domestic premises if they are rented at market rate or above. See our private domestic premises guidance note or Appendix 2 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery for more information on determining market rate.

7. Can Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) measures be installed when the premises is in shared ownership with a social housing provider?

Yes. When premises are subject to a shared ownership arrangement between a private individual and a social landlord, we consider the premises to be private as the individual ‘owns’ the premises (however small the proportion).

Recommending measures and premises information

1. When is measure recommendation necessary and what are the requirements?

Under CERO and CSCO all measures (except for connections to district heating systems) must be recommended, either in a Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR) or chartered surveyor report.

Measures installed under HHCRO do not have to be recommended.

A GDAR consists of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and an occupancy assessment.

It is important to note that:

  • The assessment recommending the installation of a measure must be completed before the measure is installed
  • The report based on the assessment must be lodged within 14 days of the date of the assessment, as required for GDARs
  • It is insufficient for a measure to be recommended in an EPC without also being recommended in a lodged GDAR.

Chartered surveyor reports must be conducted by appropriately qualified chartered surveyors, for instance a chartered surveyor accredited with a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) membership (MRICS) or a Fellow (FRICS) of the association who has qualified through the residential survey and valuation pathway. However, the report may be based on an assessment of domestic premises that was carried out by someone other than the chartered surveyor responsible for the report if they have the appropriate skills and qualifications. If a report is provided by a chartered surveyor whom we do not consider appropriately qualified to recommend the measure(s) referred to in the report, we may determine that the measure is not a recommended measure.

Please refer to Chapter 2 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery for details of “recommended measures”.

2. Where there is a block of flats or terraced houses, do all premises need to have separate documents recommending each measure?

If a Green Deal Assessment Report is used to recommend a measure, a report must be completed for each premises.

If a chartered surveyor’s report is being produced, a single report for multiple premises may be provided if there are reasonable grounds for judging that the measures being recommended are appropriate for each premises. In this case the report must clearly state each residence it refers to. It will usually be necessary to visit each premises in order to determine a few key factors for recommending energy efficiency measures, such as boiler efficiency and fuel type.

3. Can ECO measures be delivered to ‘void’ or empty properties?

CERO, CSCO and HHCRO measures must all be promoted at ‘domestic premises’. Please refer to Chapter 2 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery or our private domestic premises guidance note for further information about the domestic premises requirements. HHCRO measures cannot be delivered to void properties as they must be occupied by a member of the affordable warmth group (AWG). Please refer to Appendix 2 to ECO2 Guidance: Delivery for details of the occupant requirement for HHCRO. 

4. Can ECO measures be installed in social housing?

ECO measures can be installed in social housing under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) and Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO), provided other eligibility criteria are met. You can find more information in Chapters 2, 4, and 5 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery.

The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) requires installation in private domestic premises. Social housing tenants are therefore not eligible for installations under HHCRO, except where the premises are let at or above market rate. This can be evidenced by a tenancy agreement and statistics showing the premises were rented at or above the market rate.

However, where a property is subject to a shared ownership arrangement between a private individual and a housing association, we consider the premises to be a private domestic premises for the purpose of HHCRO. Please refer to Chapter 6 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery for details of the premises and occupant requirements for HHCRO measures.

5. How can an installer ensure premises have not previously received funding for a proposed energy efficiency measure?

We do not offer checking facilities against submitted measures.

Ofgem E-Serve checks for duplicate measures as part of the measure assessment process. Duplicate measures are the same measure type installed at the same address. Where we find an ECO measure to be a duplicate, we ask suppliers to investigate and establish which measure should be claimed. To support claims in situations like this, evidence should be kept relating to the installation of the measure.

Specific measure information

1. Are district heating schemes (DHS) eligible for ECO support?

Yes, however pre-conditions will apply and criteria differ according to the obligation that the measure is claimed against. The following measures are eligible:

  • new connections to DHS
  • upgrades of existing DHS where substantial replacement work is carried out to the plant and/or pipework, and
  • installation of a heat meter to an existing connection.

Where an upgrade to a DHS connection includes two or more technologies with different lifetimes, they should be notified as a multi-fuel upgrade. Chapter 7 in ECO2 Guidance: Delivery has further details.

DHS measures are only eligible for the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) where it can be shown that they result in heating cost savings.

Under both CERO and CSCO obligations, pre-conditions for the notification of DHS measures apply, related to whether the premises are, or will be adequately insulated. Details of these requirements are provided in Chapter 3 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery.

We recommend that suppliers contact us before undertaking DHS projects.

2. Can cavity wall insulation be removed and replaced under ECO?

Suppliers can remove existing insulation and replace it with new insulation under ECO. However, the cost score or carbon savings for the measure should take into account the presence of the pre-existing insulation. This means the score should be calculated based on a ‘before’ case when the pre-existing insulation is in place and an ‘after’ case when the new insulation measure is in place.

We understand that there may be some exceptional circumstances where there is pre-existing insulation which must be removed as it is causing a health and safety risk to the occupants of the premises and/or the structural integrity of the building it is in. In these exceptional circumstances a suitably qualified independent professional must provide:

  • detailed reasons for why the insulation has to be removed
  • the problems it is causing for the premises; and
  • a recommendation for the best insulation for the premises.

In these cases, the savings may be calculated based on a ‘before’ case where there is no pre-existing insulation, subject to meeting all other ECO requirements.

If an ECO measure is found to be a duplicate with CERT, CESP, ECO and ECO2, the carbon savings claimed under ECO2 may not be accredited to the correct obligated supplier. To avoid this it is important that the exceptional circumstances relating to the ‘before’ case for the ECO measure are well documented and all evidence retained in case of audit.

In all cases when existing insulation is removed and replaced, the measure will not be eligible under ECO if there is a guarantee in place covering the replacement of the existing work.

3. What constitutes 100% of a room in roof insulation (RIRI) measure?

As with all ECO measures, we require that 100% of a room in roof insulation measure is installed, unless there are reasonable grounds for not doing so. We have produced a document to provide clarity to the ECO supply chain on what constitutes 100% of a room in roof insulation (RIRI) measure. 

4. What are the relevant PAS annexes for room in roof insulation (RIRI)?

We have updated the document referred to above (question 8) to clarify which PAS annexes installers must be certified to, in order to install RIRI measures under ECO.

5. What is considered virgin loft insulation?

A virgin loft insulation measure can be claimed when there is no pre-existing loft insulation present at both the assessment and installation stages and no insulation has been removed in the six months before the assessment. At the time of assessment, the assessor (person recommending or scoring the measure) and occupier or landlord must sign a virgin loft declaration and secure this in the loft.

Where part of a loft is already insulated, the insulation of the areas with no pre-existing insulation can be claimed as virgin loft insulation.

4. What if I install loft insulation on top of pre-existing insulation, or remove and replace the loft insulation?

Under ECO there are three categories of top-up loft insulation:

  • where insulation is installed over pre-existing insulation: the depth of the pre-existing insulation should be taken into account  in the savings calculations
  • where insulation is removed after the loft assessment but before the installation of new insulation: the depth of the pre-existing insulation present at the assessment stage should be taken into account in the savings calculations, and
  • where insulation is removed within the six months before the loft assessment: a default starting value of 100mm should be used in the savings calculations. Details on how to calculate the savings for this measure are in our ECO2 Guidance: Delivery. If any pre-existing insulation is removed, regardless of whether this is for health and safety reasons, a virgin loft insulation measure cannot be claimed.

5. Can I insulate party walls in ECO? What are the criteria for insulating these types of wall?

Yes, party wall insulation (PWI) can be installed as a primary measure under CERO, and can also be installed under CSCO and HHCRO. However, the insulation of a party wall cannot support a secondary measure in CERO. The installation must comply with building regulations as well as any other regulations that relate to the installation of the measure, and it must be installed in accordance with PAS 2030:2014 (Edition 1). It will also require an appropriate guarantee of at least 25 years.

The measure must be installed to 100% of the available wall area. 100% of cavity party wall insulation means insulating all cavity party walls of the dwelling, for example, two walls for a mid-terrace property or one for an end terraced/ semi-detached premises. If the supplier wishes to claim savings from two adjoining premises, then they must be notified as two separate measures and each must meet the relevant requirements.

Installation standards, regulations and evidencing

1. Do installers that install ECO funded measures need to be registered with a Green Deal certification body?

Installers do not have to be registered with a Green Deal certification body to install measures under ECO.

2. Do ECO installers need to be PAS (Publicly Available Specification) certified?

Where a measure is referred to in PAS 2030:2014, the installation of it must be carried out in accordance with the provisions of PAS. Compliance with the provisions of PAS can be demonstrated if the installation is carried out by a PAS-certified installer. Installers can be certified by independent third parties according to the requirements of PAS 2031:2015.

If a measure is not referred to in PAS, the installation of it must be carried out in accordance with building regulations and any other regulations that relate to it.

3. When installing external wall insulation (EWI), how should I address installed services connected to the exterior wall?

Installed services include gas, electricity, water, telecommunications etc. Any potential risks to the functionality and safety of installed services must be identified at the pre-installation survey stage. (See paragraphs 5.2.1 and 5.2.4 of PAS 2030:2014).

These must be appropriately addressed in the method statement before installation begins. It may be necessary to liaise with service providers in advance to ensure installation is satisfactory and any required work has been carried out by the service provider before the EWI is installed.

4. If I identify telecommunication wiring on a property during an EWI pre-installation survey, am I required to notify BT Openreach and seek its guidance?

Yes, wherever there is evidence of telecommunications wiring on the exterior of a building that is likely to be affected by the installation, BT Openreach must be consulted. 

ECO installers can contact BT Openreach using the fact sheet: External wall insulation - A step by step guide for contractors (opens external website).

5. How do building regulations relate to ECO measures?

All measures installed under ECO must be carried out in accordance with building regulations. We require suppliers to demonstrate that a product or system used in the installation of a measure is compliant with building regulations. There are a number of ways in which this can be demonstrated, which is covered in Chapter 2 of our ECO2: Guidance: Delivery.

6. Which wall insulation guarantees are recognised under ECO?

A wall insulation measure (solid wall insulation, insulation of a mobile home or insulation of a cavity wall, including party cavity wall insulation) receives the relevant standard lifetime if the installation is accompanied by an appropriate guarantee. The criteria appropriate guarantees must meet are in Chapter 7 of our ECO2 Guidance: Delivery.

A list of the guarantees we consider meet the criteria for an appropriate guarantee, and the measures they cover, is in our ECO2 Appropriate Guarantees document.

7. Can my product be approved for installation under ECO?

Ofgem E-Serve does not approve products for installation under ECO. We have published a list of measures eligible under ECO. Suppliers can install these measures with any product or material compliant with building regulations and/or other regulations. If we ask them to, suppliers must produce evidence that the product or material they installed meets the requirements of building regulations and/or other regulations relating to the installation of the measure.

For a non-exhaustive list of measures eligible under ECO, please refer to our ECO measures table.

8. Where there is a block of flats or terraced houses, do all the premises need to have separate documents evidencing completion of each measure?

In cases where the same measure is installed in multiple premises (such as a block of flats, or a row of houses, or where flats and/or houses are on the same estate) owned by the same landlord, all measures may be handed over on the same date. This applies to the Declaration of Conformity and Completed Installation.

9. What evidence is required by suppliers as proof of installation?

Supplier data requirements may exceed the minimum requirements for reporting measures to us. To help ensure that measures are accepted by energy companies, the Matrix of ECO Document Requirements has been produced by the ECO Reporting Working Group. It lists which documents energy companies require for each measure installed under the relevant obligation, and when they require them.

We are continuing to work with industry to understand if there are other areas where we can clarify our processes to support the supply chain.

Monitoring and compliance

1. Does Ofgem E-Serve check the quality of ECO installations?

Yes. We have auditing, independent technical monitoring and score verification systems in place to monitor quality of installations and confirm that the information provided by suppliers is correct.

If an audit or monitoring inspection of a notified measure establishes that certain information provided to us is not accurate we may:

  • refuse savings to a measure, or revoke an earlier decision to attribute savings to the measure
  • further audit or monitor the supplier if the results of the initial audit or monitoring indicate areas of risk in relation to that supplier, and/or
  • suspend approval of measures we consider to be an area of risk.

2. How much technical and score monitoring do suppliers have to do?

We require that suppliers conduct technical and score monitoring on a 5% sample of notified measures to assess whether these have been installed in accordance with our requirements and to ensure premises and measures are as notified by the supplier. The sample must be representative across different measure types notified by the supplier and the installers they have used.

We may increase monitoring levels on particular sets of measures if we are concerned about the quality of installation or the accuracy of scoring.

You can find more information on technical and score monitoring in Chapter 9 of the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery. We also publish reports on the outcomes of technical monitoring on our website.

3. What is the purpose of the pathways to compliance process?

The pathways to compliance process details how and when we expect corrective action to be taken as a consequence of poor performance in the supply chain. The pathways process should prevent measures from further scrutiny and rejection at the end of the scheme.

The process should highlight areas of concern within the supply chain, allowing suppliers and the supply chain to focus on improving specific aspects of delivery. This will help to improve the customer experience, as well as ensuring the reported carbon or cost savings are achieved.

4. Why are measures put on a pathway to compliance?

Measures are put on a pathway to compliance if our monitoring requirements are not met. This can occur either through insufficient monitoring inspections or when trigger failure rates are breached for certain subsets of measures.

Insufficient Monitoring Inspections - At least 3% of an installer’s measures for each individual supplier must be monitored each quarter. For instance, if the monitoring rate for Installer A is 1.5% for a quarter, all of Installer A’s measures for the relevant supplier in that quarter would be put on a pathway to compliance until sufficient additional monitoring or assurance have been conducted to meet the 3% monitoring requirement. 

Trigger Failure Rate Breached - The technical monitoring failure rate for an installer is higher than 10% or the score monitoring failure rate is higher than 20%.  For instance, if Installer B has a technical monitoring failure rate of 18% for a supplier, all of Installer B’s measures for that supplier in that quarter would be put on a pathway to compliance until the required additional actions have been completed.

5. What is a subset of measures?

For the ECO2 Guidance: Delivery and the Pathways to Compliance guidance note, a subset of measures relates to:

  • All measures installed by a particular installer for a particular supplier
  • All measures of a particular measure type notified by a particular supplier 
  • All measures of a particular type installed by a particular installer for a particular supplier.

Each supplier’s monitoring results are considered separately, and installers are considered separately for each supplier. 

6. Which measures are affected by the pathways to compliance process?

If the results of technical or score monitoring show that our requirements for monitoring are not met for a certain subset of measures, all measures in that subset from the quarter that the results relate to will be put on a pathway to compliance. Measures from previous quarters will not be affected.

7. When will Ofgem E-Serve make a decision about which measures are affected by the pathways to compliance?

Suppliers conduct technical and score monitoring on a quarterly basis and submit the results of at the end of the month following a quarter. We will analyse these results and inform suppliers if any measures are affected by pathways within the month after the monitoring results are submitted.

We expect suppliers to have a good understanding of their results, and the likely impact of the pathways, before submitting their results. 

If they identify subsets of measures which do not meet the requirements for monitoring, they should inform affected parties. If suppliers anticipate a subset of measures will be put on a pathway to compliance, we expect them to start taking appropriate action immediately, even within the same quarter to ensure a swift resolution. 

8. How will Ofgem E-Serve inform suppliers of the measures it considers to be ‘at risk’?

We will give suppliers a summary of their monitoring results for a quarter. This will show:

  • subsets of measures that did not meet the monitoring requirement and/or breached the trigger failure rate
  • the pathway that affected subsets of measures are on as a result, and
  • the number of additional monitoring inspections we require in the first instance.

We will also provide suppliers with a list of all individual measures considered ‘at risk’ (see below for an explanation of what ‘at risk’ means). And a formal notification of the installers we consider ‘at risk’.

9. How do I find out if my measures are on a pathway to compliance?

After each quarter, we inform suppliers which of their measures are on a pathway to compliance, and we expect suppliers to share this information with their supply chain.

An installer should contact the relevant supplier to establish if any measures they have installed are on a pathway to compliance.

10. What are the pathways’ timelines?

Timelines vary depending on the levels of performance, as shown in Tables 2 and 5 in the Pathways to Compliance guidance note. If poor performance is deemed unacceptable, suppliers will have two months to give us sufficient confidence that they have addressed the causes of this poor performance. 

If poor performance is less severe, suppliers will have up to eight months to provide us with sufficient confidence that they have addressed the cause of the poor performance (although we expect that, in most cases, suppliers will be able to do so well before this). Where we are given sufficient confidence before this, we will release measures from the pathways to compliance on a monthly basis.

Timelines begin immediately after the submission deadline for monitoring results for a quarter (ie the first day of the second month following a quarter). 

11. What do ’internal query’ and ‘at risk’ mean? Does this affect approval of my measures?

If the results of technical or score monitoring indicate that for a subset of measures, either there has not been enough monitoring, or the trigger failure rates are met, those measures will be scrutinised further. Such measures are referred to as ‘at risk’, because unless the supplier undertakes additional actions to give us confidence in these measures, there is a risk that we may ultimately not award savings to them. Putting a measure at risk does not remove any existing approval for that measure. Although the savings attributed to all qualifying actions are not formally determined until the end of the scheme, measures are approved in our internal operational workings. Measures that we consider ‘at risk’ are generally assigned the ‘Internal Query’ status on the ECO Register. This is to enable suppliers to more accurately track the status of their measures.

12. What does ‘suspend approval’ mean?

If there are consecutive quarters of installer poor performance for a supplier, we will not have sufficient confidence in future measures within that subset. We would suspend the approval process for these measures until we are confident in the quality and/or accuracy of these measures. 

For example, Installer A has performed poorly across Quarter 1 to Quarter 3 for a supplier. Installer A measures notified in Quarter 4 or later for that supplier will not be approved until the issue has been resolved. The amount of quarters of poor performance that will lead to this action depends on the severity of the failure rate, as described in the Pathways to Compliance guidance note.

13. How can I get my measures off a pathway to compliance?

If the monitoring requirement is not met, suppliers must conduct enough inspections to meet it. If the requirement is missed by a significant margin, we will also require assurance that this will not happen in future. Once a sufficient number of inspections are complete, the measures will be taken off the pathway to compliance.

If measures are considered ‘at risk’ because of high failure rates, we will first require additional monitoring to establish whether the reported failure rate is representative of the population. If this additional monitoring reduces the failure rate below the trigger rate (10% for technical monitoring and 20% for score monitoring), the measures will no longer be considered ‘at risk’. If this additional monitoring confirms that the failure rate is above the trigger failure rate, suppliers will need to give us additional assurance in the quality of these measures. Depending on the observed failure rate, this may include:

  • an improvement plan – identifying how issues will be resolved to avoid repetition in the future, eg training
  • a root cause analysis to identify the cause of the problem, eg a specific operative, or measures failing on the same question
  • internal installer assurance checks – including additional monitoring, and
  • communication from senior management. 

You can find out more about the things we expect suppliers to do, based on the observed failure rate, in the Pathways to Compliance guidance note.

14. When will Ofgem E-Serve review the measures ‘at risk’?

Following initial submission one month after the end of a quarter, suppliers can submit to us results of additional monitoring inspections or actions taken to address poor performance. If this additional monitoring reduces the total failure rate to below the trigger rate, these measures will no longer be considered ‘at risk’, and will be released from the pathways to compliance each month.

15. How do the pathways to compliance account for installers responsible for low volumes?

We recognise that many installers deliver fewer than 100 measures for a supplier in a quarter, and so there are challenges for these installers to monitor 3% of measures.

To alleviate this, we only require one inspection per quarter for installers that deliver fewer than 100 measures in that quarter for a supplier. If a small installer does not meet that requirement, we only take action on pathways to compliance after it has not met the requirement for two consecutive quarters. Action in these cases will only relate to the second quarter’s measures.

What if I can’t gain access to inspect any of an installer’s measures where they are responsible for fewer than 100 measures?

We understand that it may be difficult to gain access to measures to meet monitoring requirements. We will only consider putting such a subset on a pathway to compliance if the installer does not meet the requirement for two consecutive quarters.

If no monitoring inspections are conducted on a subset of fewer than 100 measures for a quarter, we will require that either the necessary monitoring is carried out or the supplier provides evidence to prove they were unable to gain access to inspect the measures. Our Non-access guidance note describes acceptable evidence.

If no inspections are carried out for three quarters due to non-access, Ofgem E-Serve would not have sufficient confidence in the quality and/or accuracy of measures. In such cases, only measures covered by the most recent monitoring report (ie the report for the third quarter) will be put on a pathway to compliance. If a supplier is concerned that it will not be able to inspect one measure over three consecutive quarters, it should contact us for additional guidance.

16. What constitutes additional monitoring and which measures does this apply to?

Any monitoring inspections conducted/due to be conducted above the required monitoring rate (3% per installer) are considered additional monitoring. Additional monitoring, whether to fulfil monitoring requirements or confirm failure rates, must be conducted on measures in the same quarter that the results relate to. 

For example, installer A has achieved a monitoring rate of 6% for Quarter 2, 3% above the requirement. The monitoring results show a failure rate of 25% and as a result an additional 5% monitoring is required on installer A’s measures for Quarter 2. The total amount of monitoring required for Installer A is therefore (3% + 5%) 8%. As installer A monitoring rate was already 6% at the time of submission of the monitoring results, only a further 2% is required.

If an installer is contracted by numerous suppliers, will all of their ECO measures be considered at risk?

Each installer is considered separately for each individual supplier. If an installer is subject to further action under the pathways to compliance process for the measures it installed for one supplier, measures installed for another supplier by the same installer will not be affected.

17. If an installer delivers measures to the same supplier via different managing agents or through Brokerage, will the measures for each delivery mechanism be considered separately?

The information provided as part of notification does not identify intermediaries within the supply chain. Regardless of how an installer delivers measures for a supplier, we consider all measures by that installer for a particular supplier as one subset. Therefore, if the trigger failure rate is met for that installer, all of its measures will be considered at risk for that supplier.

It is important to note that the installer is the company or individual that carried out the installation of the measure at the premises. This will not be the management agent, unless the management agent themselves carried out the installation.

18. How will Ofgem E-Serve consider overturns of failed measures in relation to the pathways?

If monitoring inspection failures are overturned after being reported to Ofgem E-Serve and this reduces the failure rate below the trigger failure rate for that subset, the measures will no longer be considered ‘at risk’. These measures will therefore be released from the pathways to compliance as part of the monthly process.

Suppliers are encouraged to tell us each month about progress on failed measures, including possible overturns.

19. If measures are placed on a pathway because I failed technical monitoring requirements, do I only need to answer the technical monitoring questions for additional monitoring inspections, rather than both technical and score monitoring questions?

In ECO2, technical monitoring and score monitoring are two separate processes. This means that if an installer is put on a pathway to compliance for technical monitoring, the required additional monitoring is only technical monitoring (monitoring based on the technical monitoring questionnaire). It’s possible an installer could be put on a pathway to compliance for both technical and score monitoring. In that case, the installer will be subject to both additional technical monitoring and additional score monitoring. Both types of additional monitoring can be conducted on the same measures.

20. If a measure fails only on a best practice question, is it included in my failure rate?

In ECO2 the technical monitoring questions are split between best practice and core questions. A failed monitoring inspection for a measure will only be counted towards an installer’s failure rate where it fails a core question.

Requesting measure information and payment issues

1. Can Ofgem E-Serve confirm if a measure has been claimed under ECO? If so, what evidence would be required to verify the identity of an installer?

a. ECO1 installer information sharing

ECO1 measures: it is not our policy to disclose whether or not an ECO measure was installed at a particular address. This is because we do not hold the name of the installation company that completed a measure under ECO1 and cannot therefore verify the identity of the installer in respect of individual measures. 

b. ECO2 installer information sharing

ECO2 measures: in certain circumstances, Ofgem E-Serve may be able to share information with an installer whether or not a supplier has notified a particular measure (“installer information request”).  

This is possible for ECO2 measures as we hold the name of the installation company that completed the measure. This allows us to verify the identity of the requesting installer.

Ofgem E-Serve can only process installer information requests made on or after 19 August 2015, when the ECO2 privacy policy was updated.

c. How to make an ECO2 installer information request?

To protect the personal data of individuals, we require installers to complete a verification process. Suppliers are obligated to notify the name of the company that carried out the installation of the measure at the premises. 

In cases where the measure is included in PAS 2030, and is installed by a PAS-certified installation company, we would expect this name to be recorded and notified. If you were subcontracted to do work, you may wish to contact the PAS- certified installation company to instruct them to make a data request to Ofgem E-Serve. There are two possible outcomes:

1.    If we do not hold any information against the name of your installation company, we will not be able to provide you with the information requested. This does not mean the measure has not been notified to us. We will respond outlining what steps you can take next.

2.    If we do hold information against the name of your installation company, we will send a template for you to complete with certain details of the measure(s) installed. Once provided, we will release information for the measures we hold information for, though we do not provide the name of the supplier who funded the measure.

d. What does a response to an installer information request cover?

We will only process requests for measures installed over three months before the date of request. This allows sufficient time for the measure to be notified to us.

Note we are only able to deal with requests which contain a maximum of 30 measures.

2. I have been told some of the measures I installed have been rejected by Ofgem E-Serve. Is there a way I can check which measures they are?

Should Ofgem E-Serve refuse to award savings to measures, we will send a notice to suppliers stating that we are minded to refuse/revoke approval. This notice includes the reason why we are minded to refuse/revoke savings for each measure. If we decide to refuse or revoke savings of measures, we will send a confirmation notice to the relevant suppliers listing those measures. 

The Ofgem E-Serve measure reference number, measure type, date of installation, reason for rejection and part of the postcode are listed in the confirmation notice for each individual measure. In accordance with data protection legislation, Ofgem E-Serve cannot release further information. Suppliers may provide further details for each measure.

We recommend that you request a notice from a supplier, or other party whom you have a contract with, as verification that your measures have indeed been rejected.  If you know the name of the energy supplier claiming the measure(s) you installed, you should contact them directly. Their contact details are here. Obligated energy suppliers have indicated they prefer installers to approach them directly where there are issues regarding payment and approval status. The measure rejection process is explained on our website.

3. What information can Ofgem E-Serve give to installers who have not been paid for measures they have installed?

Payment issues and other contractual issues between obligated energy suppliers, installers and other parties in the supply chain are regulated by contracts between those parties. Ofgem E-Serve does not participate in any disputes arising from these arrangements. This includes disputes surrounding funding of ECO measures.

Installers seeking information about measures they have submitted may ask suppliers for evidence, where we have refused or revoked savings for a particular measure. 

You can find more information on formal notices to reject or revoke savings and letters about extension requests on our website.

I have been told that my payment is delayed because the measure is part of a batch submission. Is this correct?

No, although some suppliers may process measures in ‘batches’ as part of their internal processes, all measures are assessed by Ofgem E-Serve monthly and decisions are taken on an individual basis.

Key Resources for Installers

Key Resources for Installers

  • The ECO Guidance is a comprehensive document for anyone looking for in-depth information regarding ECO.
  • The ECO2 Measures Table provides a non-exhaustive list of the energy efficiency measures which suppliers can install to meet their ECO2 obligations.
  • The Matrix of ECO Document Requirements provides a non-exhaustive list of the evidence required by energy companies for each ECO measure installed.
  • The Notification Template is the form that suppliers send to us for each measure. All sections must be filled in accurately and correctly otherwise measures will be rejected.
  • The Public Reports section of our website gives a monthly compliance update which is provided to the Secretary of State.
  • Suppliers' contact details are available on our website. 
  • The ECO reporting working group area of our website contains a series of documents which help streamline the ECO reporting process for the supply chain.

Oil boilers

How can an installer demonstrate that their oil boiler installation complies with the relevant standards?

In ECO, oil boiler installations must be carried out in accordance with the relevant version of PAS, the regional building regulations that apply where the installation is being carried out, the manufacturer’s installation instructions and any other relevant standards. You should consult your competent person scheme or equivalent to ensure you aware of all standards and regulations.

For compliance with building regulations in England & Wales:

The installer should be a member of a Competent Person Scheme approved by Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Welsh Government (Wales only).

For compliance with building regulations in Scotland: 

The installer may need to apply for a building warrant from the local authority to show that any work they are planning complies with Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004. Please consult your local authority for further advice. 

Please note that these are the building regulations requirements at the time of writing and are subject to change. 

Does an operative in their probationary period of a Building Regulations Competent Person Scheme membership meet the competency requirements of PAS?

When an operative is in the probationary period of a Building Regulations Competent Person Scheme, they may not be a full member of the scheme. It is therefore important to check this with a competent person scheme to ensure an operative meets the competency requirements outlined in the relevant version of PAS. 

Is the Boiler Assessment Checklist different for oil boilers?

The boiler assessment checklist should be completed as normal for oil boilers and normal boiler warranty requirements will apply. Please refer to our ECO2 Guidance: Delivery Appendix 3 for further information.

What happens if I cannot identify the make and model of an oil boiler?

We expect this situation to be uncommon but in cases where the make and model of a boiler cannot be identified, we would accept an input of, ‘unknown – make and model cannot be identified’ for Section B: Existing Boiler Details on the Boiler Assessment Checklist. All efforts must have been made to identify the make and model of the boiler and evidence as to why you’ve been unable to identify it must be retained. 

Do I need to replace the existing oil tank during an installation?

You should seek advice from your competent person scheme or local authority to ensure the entire oil boiler installation is safe and complies with relevant building regulations. This includes the condition of the oil tank. You should inspect the existing oil tank ahead of any boiler replacement works. 

You may not need to upgrade or replace an existing oil tank as part of a new boiler installation unless;

  • Following the new boiler installation, the oil tank is less compliant when measured against existing building regulations than it previously was, or
  • The tank is not oil tight, not fully supported and is deemed to be an immediate environmental risk.

In the situations outlined above we would expect the existing oil tank to be upgraded or replaced as required.

What steps should I take to ensure the existing oil tank is safe and compliant with building regulations?

For installers undertaking boiler replacement work only, we recommend installers: 

  • Promote the benefits of compliant oil storage, in writing, with your estimate.
  • On commissioning a new boiler, record on your competent person scheme (England & Wales) commissioning report or equivalent, that the oil store remains non-compliant and that they should consider making it compliant with BS 5410 / regional building regulations at the earliest opportunity. 
  • Issue the customer with a completed Domestic Oil Storage Tank Spillage and Fire Risk Assessment (England and Wales), if the tank is domestic and sited above ground externally.
  • In Scotland, if not a member of a competent person scheme, we would expect appropriate checks have been taken to determine that existing oil tank is safe for use. 

You should seek further advice from your competent person scheme, local authority or equivalent if you are unsure of these requirements.