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.

The ECO2 obligation period was due to end on 31 March 2017, however, the scheme has been extended by 18 months. This extension period is known as ‘ECO2t’ and will run from 1 April 2017 until 30 September 2018. 

2. What obligations does ECO include?

ECO has two distinct obligations:

a. Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO): the installation of wall and roof insulation measures, connections to district heating systems (DHS), and ‘secondary’ insulation measures. Some of this obligation is achieved by installing measures in rural areas.

b. Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO): the installation of insulation and the repair and replacement of boilers and electric storage heaters, to:

a) people receiving certain benefits and living in private domestic premises (the Help to Heat group)

b) people referred by a local authority who live in private domestic premises, and

c) social housing premises with an EPC energy efficiency rating of E, F or G. 

3. What measures can be installed under ECO?

Measures installed under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) 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 ECO2t Measures Table provides a non-exhaustive list of the energy efficiency measures which suppliers can install to meet their each of their two obligations (CERO and HHCRO).

4. How can I get involved?

ECO is an energy efficiency scheme for Great Britain which places obligations on larger energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic premises. If installers are interested in delivering ECO measures they should get in touch with an obligated supplier.

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 has no role in administering ECO Brokerage. For more information visit the website of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

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

Whilst Ofgem 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 the premises. The carbon or cost savings must be determined using the Deemed Scores Matrix, or in the case of District Heating Systems (DHS) using SAP/RdSAP.

Where a deemed score isn’t available, suppliers can apply to Ofgem for a new set of deemed scores or to use an alternative methodology. In the case of DHS measures, where the measure can’t be scored using SAP/RdSAP, a supplier can apply to use an appropriate methodology. 

Please see Chapter 6 in the ECO2t Guidance: Delivery for more information on applying for a new methodology. If you want to contact a supplier regarding your product or measure type, their details are available here.

6. Can ECO measures be co-funded with other schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme?

The funding for measures may come from multiple sources, such as ECO and RHI together, as long as all the rules for the schemes involved are followed. However, to satisfy the requirement that the measures are being ‘promoted’ by the obligated suppliers, ECO must be the cause of the measures being installed.

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

The ECO2t 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)

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.

The following 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 cavity 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 ECO2t measures table.

2. What is the rural component of CERO?

Suppliers must achieve at least 15% of their phase 3 CERO obligation by promoting qualifying actions to domestic premises in a rural area. Our online tool helps you to identify areas that are considered rural.

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 where 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 5 and Appendix 3 of the ECO2t Guidance: Delivery.

2. What is the Help to Heat Group?

To be a member of the Help to Heat Group the person must be in receipt of certain benefits. The person to whom a measure is delivered under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) must be either a member of the Help to Heat Group  or reside with a member of the Help to Heat Group. Information about the types of benefits a person must be in receipt of to be a member of the Help to Heat Group is provided in Chapter 5 and Appendix 2 of our ECO2t Guidance: Delivery.

More information on how to prove receipt of a qualifying benefit is provided in our Help to Heat Group guidance note.

3. How can the data matching service be used to identify Help to Heat Group customers?

A data matching service has been set up by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to assist installers and suppliers by confirming Help to Heat Group 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 in turn 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 Help to Heat Group. 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 Help to Heat Group 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 Help to Heat Group customers?

One of the ways in which suppliers can demonstrate that consumers are eligible Help to Heat Group 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.

The ESAS service runs a data check with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to confirm eligibility against the help to heat group benefit criteria. Eligible customers may be referred on to an obligated supplier. 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 Help to Heat Group 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?

Where measures are delivered to members of the Help to Heat Group, or where customers are referred to obligated suppliers by local authorities, they must be delivered to private domestic premises. Private domestic premises are, in general, not owned or let by a social landlord.

Where the premises is registered with the land registry (including the Land Register of Scotland or the Register of Sasines), the land registry extract must be provided to evidence that the premises are private domestic premises. Generally, where the premises is registered as belonging to an individual person we will be satisfied the premises meets this requirement. Where the premises is not registered, further documents which can be used to evidence private domestic premises can be found in Appendix 2 of ECO2t 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 can be eligible under the following two scenarios:

a) Where the social housing premises has an EPC rating of E, F or G.
b) Where they are let at market rate or above.

See Appendix 2 of the ECO2t 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).

Premises Information

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

Measures must be promoted at ‘domestic premises’ (which includes a mobile home). Please refer to Chapter 2 of the ECO2t Guidance: Delivery for further information about the domestic premises requirements. HHCRO measures cannot be installed in to void properties as they must be promoted at ‘private domestic premises’ occupied by a member of the Help to Heat Group. Please refer to Chapter 5 and Appendix 2 to ECO2t Guidance: Delivery for details of the premises requirement, the occupant requirement and membership of the Help to Heat Group.

2. Can ECO measures be installed in social housing?

ECO measures can be installed in social housing under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO), provided other eligibility criteria such as the domestic premises are met. You can find more information in Chapters 2 and 4 of the ECO2t 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, or where the premises have an EPC rating of E, F or G. 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 5 and Appendix 2 of the ECO2t Guidance: Delivery for details of the premises and occupant requirements for HHCRO measures.

3.. 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 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 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 ECO2t Guidance: Delivery provides 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 CERO, 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 ECO2t Guidance: Delivery.

We recommend that suppliers contact us before undertaking DHS projects.

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

We understand that there may be some exceptional circumstances where pre-existing cavity wall insulation 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 in which it is located. 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 (if any).

In these cases, the deemed score may be claimed, subject to meeting all other ECO requirements. 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 or in case the measure should be identified as a duplicate with a CERT, CESP, ECO1 or ECO2 measure.

In all cases where existing insulation is removed and replaced, the measure will not be eligible under ECO where 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. Please see Chapter 7 of the ECO2t Guidance: Delivery for more information on what constitutes 100% of a room in roof insulation (RIRI) measure. 

4. What is considered virgin loft insulation?

We no longer have a ‘virgin’ loft measure. Under ECO2t there are two loft insulation measure variants, one for lofts which have less than or equal to 100mm of pre-existing loft insulation (including lofts where there is no existing insulation) and a second variant for loft with more than 100mm of pre-existing loft insulation.

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

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

  • where insulation is installed over pre-existing insulation: the relevant deemed score, either <=100mm of existing loft insulation, or >100mm of existing loft insulation, should be claimed.
  • where insulation is removed after the loft assessment but before the installation of new insulation, or where insulation is removed within the 6 months prior to the loft assessment: the ’>100mm of existing loft insulation’ deemed score should be claimed. If any pre-existing insulation is removed, regardless of whether this is for health and safety reasons, only the >100mm loft insulation score can be claimed.

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

Yes, party cavity wall insulation (PCWI) can be installed  as a primary measure under CERO, and can also be installed under HHCRO. PCWI measures can support a secondary measure and do not need to meet the minimum 50% installation rule to do so.

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. It will also require an ECO appropriate guarantee of at least 25 years.

The measure must be installed to 100% of the available wall area. 100% of a party cavity wall insulation measure means insulating all party cavity 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.

Cost and Carbon Savings (Deemed Scores)

1. How are ECO savings calculated?

For each measure that a supplier notifies, it must provide the associated savings: carbon savings for CERO or cost scores for HHCRO.

For ECO2t these savings have been ‘deemed’ and can be selected from the Deemed Scores Matrix.

Where the Deemed Scores Matrix does not contain scores for a certain measure, a supplier can apply for new deemed scores or to use an alternative methodology.

For District Heating System (DHS) measures these must be scoring using SAP/RdSAP or an Appropriate Methodology.

Please see Chapters 6 and 7 of the ECO2t Guidance: Delivery for more information on scoring, and Chapter 8 for more information on District Heating Systems.

2. What are in-use factors and lifetimes?

An in-use factor is required when calculating carbon savings for a measure notified under CERO. It takes into account the difference between the theoretical and in-situ performance of the measure and reduces the measure savings accordingly. A lifetime is the number of years a measure is expected to deliver savings for.

All in-use factors and lifetimes are taken into account in the scores published in the Deemed Scores Matrix so do not need to be calculated or notified separately.

The in-use factors and lifetimes are available in our ECO2t Measures Table. For more information on in-use factors and lifetimes see Chapter 8 of our ECO2t Guidance: Delivery.

There are cases when suppliers may apply to use a non-standard lifetime. This could happen when:

  • the measure is not listed on the published ECO measures table, or
  • the supplier believes the standard lifetime for a measure category is inaccurate.

Only obligated energy suppliers may apply to use a non-standard lifetime. Further information can be found in Chapter 6 of our ECO2t Guidance: Delivery.

3. Can an obligated supplier count both the carbon savings and cost savings from one measure towards their target?

No, each measure can only be claimed against a single obligation. However, if multiple measures are installed in the same premises, the different measures can be claimed against different obligations. A supplier may notify a measure with both the carbon savings and cost score to make it easier to re-elect the measure towards a different obligation at a later date.

4. What happens if a saving is deemed to be inaccurate?

Measures notified to us must have an accurate carbon saving or cost score. Suppliers are expected to undertake their own verification checks prior to notifying measures to us. Scores claimed under ECO are checked by score monitoring agents. If a measure fails or if wider concerns are raised we will contact the relevant obligated supplier to investigate and correct the score claimed where necessary. We will be unable to award savings to the measure until the savings are corrected. More information about score monitoring is available in Chapter 10 of our ECO2t Guidance: Delivery.

5. How do I determine if a heating measure is adequately heating a property (ie. when can I claim 100% POPT)?

For heating measures, 100% percent of property treated (POPT) can be claimed where the heating measure installed provides adequate heating for the entire property. If the heating measure installed does not adequately heat the entire property, then the POPT should be reduced to reflect this.

A qualified operative should use the appropriate industry/manufacturer guidelines to determine if the entire property is adequately heated. Calculating whether the heating system is correctly sized to heat the entire property may require the use of sizing calculators. The entire property should be taken into account, we do not consider ‘habitable rooms’, as defined in SAP, as part of the determination.

Where a measure involving specific heat emitters is installed (for instance electric storage heaters), they may not always need to be replaced one-for-one, or on a one per room basis. Instead, the number, size and placement of the heat emitters should be selected based on the heating requirements of the specific property in question.

Please see Chapter 7 of the ECO2t Guidance: Delivery for more information on scoring heating measures.

Installation Standards, Regulations and Evidencing

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

Where a measure is referred to in PAS, installers need to be certified to PAS in order to install that measure under ECO. During ECO2t, an installer may be certified to PAS 2030: 2014 Edition 1 or PAS 2030: 2017 Edition 1. 

Where a measure is referred to in PAS, the measure must also be installed in accordance with PAS in order to install that measure under ECO. 

For measure installed from 1 June 2017, the measure must be installed in accordance with PAS 2030: 2017 Edition 1. Measures installed in April 2017 and May 2017 may be installed in accordance with either PAS 2030: 2014 Edition 1 or PAS 2030: 2017 Edition 1.

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

2. 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, or section 6.2 of PAS 2030:2017).

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.

3. 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 as they are the only licensed operator allowed to interact with the network and may deem failure to comply as potential trespass on their equipment.

BT Openreach has provided this webpage where ECO installers can contact them.

4. How do building regulations relate to ECO measures?

All measures installed under ECO must be carried out in accordance with building regulations, where relevant. 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 ECO2t Guidance: Delivery.

5. 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. Full details of the criteria appropriate guarantees must meet are available in Chapter 6 of our ECO2t Guidance: Delivery.

A list of the guarantees we consider to meet the criteria for an appropriate guarantee, and the measures they cover, can be found in our Energy Companies Obligation (ECO2t) Appropriate Guarantees document.

6. Can my company/product be approved for installation under ECO?

Ofgem 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. On request, suppliers must produce evidence that the product or material they installed meets the requirements of building regulations and/or other regulations which relate to the installation of the measure.

For a non-exhaustive list of measures eligible under ECO, please refer to our ECO2t Measures Table.

7. 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.

8. 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 provide further clarity regarding our processes to support the supply chain on this issue.

Monitoring and Compliance

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

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

Where 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;
  • initiate further auditing or monitoring of 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. What level of technical and score monitoring do suppliers have to undertake?

We require that suppliers conduct technical and score monitoring of 5 % 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 and installers notified by the supplier and the installers they have used.

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

You can find more information on technical and score monitoring in Chapter 10 of the ECO2t 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 remaining subject to further scrutiny and rejection at the end of the scheme.

The process highlights 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 10%.  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 ECO2t Guidance: Delivery and the Monitoring 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.

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 or future 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 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.

If a supplier has already conducted enough extra monitoring to cover the number of required additional monitoring inspections, we will instead ask the supplier for additional assurances for the relevant subset.

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 timelines associated with the pathways?

There are two different timelines for pathways to compliance. The timeline depends on whether a subset of measures is on a pathway for insufficient monitoring, or for high failure rates.

Pathways for insufficient monitoring need to be completed within three months.

Pathways for high failure rates need to be completed within six months.

We start the timer for a pathway to compliance from the date we inform the supplier a subset of measures has been placed on a pathway. A supplier always has to the end of the month in which the deadline expires to complete the pathway.

Example: A subset of measures is placed on a pathway for insufficient monitoring. We inform the supplier of this on 15 September. The supplier then has until 31 December to complete the necessary actions to remove this subset from the pathway to compliance.

If a supplier does not complete the necessary actions to remove a subset of measures from a pathway to compliance by the deadline, we will be minded to reject the whole subset of measures. 

11. What do ’internal query’ and ‘at risk’ mean in terms of Technical Monitoring? 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 subject to further scrutiny. 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. 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. Where 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 10% 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, e.g. training
  • a root cause analysis to identify the cause of the problem, e.g. 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 Monitoring guidance note.

13. 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 on a monthly basis. The deadline for these submissions is the 17th day of a month, unless this is not a working day, in which case it is the first working day after the 17th. We aim to assess the actions taken by suppliers by the end of the month in which they were submitted and report the outcome to suppliers. 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.

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

We recognise that many installers deliver less 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. 

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

If the supplier is not able to access any properties for an installer with fewer than 100 measures, we will waive the monitoring requirement for a single quarter. However, the supplier must then ensure it carries out at least one inspection in the next quarter. Suppliers report the results of non-access to us together with the results of successful inspections. We will determine whether or not to waive the monitoring requirement based on this information from suppliers. More information on how the non-access process works can be found in our Monitoring guidance note.

If no inspections are carried out for two quarters due to non-access, Ofgem 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 two consecutive quarters it should contact us for additional guidance.

16. What constitutes additional monitoring and to 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 20% 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

We identify the installer based on the information notified to us by the supplier. It is important that suppliers make sure they notify the correct installer, to avoid incorrect measures being included in a pathway to compliance.

19. How will Ofgem consider overturns of failed measures in relation to the pathways?

An ‘overturn’ is a situation where the monitoring agent agrees that a measure they had initially failed has actually passed inspection. If monitoring inspection failures are overturned after being reported to Ofgem 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.

20. Can I see confirmation that my measure has been rejected?

For measures notified to us, each time we refuse or revoke savings of a measure we send a confirmation notice to the relevant supplier. The letter includes a list of the measures for which we have refused or revoked savings. You can request sight of this notice from the supplier, or another party you have a contract with, as evidence that we have refused or revoked savings for a particular measure.

Notifying Measures and Extension Requests

1. Where can I find the Notification Template?

The Notification Template is available on our website.

2. When is ‘N/A’ acceptable as an entry in a data field and what does it mean?

N/A may be used when a ‘required’ or ‘core’ field is irrelevant. N/A is not an acceptable when a response is ‘required’ or ‘core’ as defined in the data dictionary.

3. What should be entered in the ‘Unique_Property_Reference_Number_(UPRN)’ data field?

The twelve digit UPRN code from The National Land and Property relevant to the premises where the measure has been installed should be entered.

4. How does the extension process work?

The first 5% of late measures notified to us for a particular calendar month without an extension request are given an automatic extension of three months to the notification deadline. This 5% is calculated on a per supplier basis.

Alternatively, a supplier can apply for an extension to the notification deadline. We are not obliged to grant an extension to suppliers and we will consider each application on an individual basis. We will grant an extension to the notification deadline if a supplier satisfies us that there is a reasonable excuse for missing the notification deadline. Where similar issues are raised more than once by the supplier as a reason for a delay in measure notification, this may not satisfy our requirements for granting an extension.

5. I have been told some of the measures I installed are on hold because of an extension request. How can I check which measures these are?

Our measure extension process is explained on our website. If a supplier requests an extension for a number of measures, we will send a confirmation letter to the supplier listing those measures. This includes the measure reference number, measure type, date of installation and part of the postcode for each measure. In accordance with data protection, we cannot release any further information. Suppliers may provide further details for each measure.

Your supplier should be able to provide this letter to verify that any of your measures are subject to an extension request.

6. What are the typical timescales for granting an extension, once the application has been made?

Timescales vary greatly, depending on the amount and quality of supporting evidence. We will request further information from a supplier where the original submission does not provide us with sufficient evidence to make an informed decision. Requesting further evidence is likely to delay our decision on whether to grant the extension. 

7. What is the average length of time given for an extension period?

Late measures, up to 5% of a suppliers notified measures for that month, receive an automatic 3-month extension. Where we receive a formal extensive request from a supplier they are usually given 2-3 months to notify us of measures once the extension request has been granted. We assess extensions on an individual basis, so the length will depend on the reasons outlined in the extension request.

8. What is the process if two or more obligated suppliers claim the savings on the same energy efficiency measure?

Each month we carry out an analysis to check if more than one supplier has claimed for the same measure at the same premises. If we find duplicate measures we will contact the suppliers involved and ask them to liaise with other suppliers to establish which measure(s) is a valid notification. Once this has been agreed the duplicate measure will be rejected on the ECO register. You may be contacted by either of the suppliers for further information or to verify information provided.

Requesting Measure Information and Payment Issues

1. Can Ofgem 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

It is not our policy to disclose whether or not an ECO1 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 and ECO2t installer information sharing

In certain circumstances, Ofgem may be able to share information with an installer whether or not a supplier has notified a particular ECO2 or ECO2t measure (“installer information request”). 

This is possible for ECO2 and ECO2t 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 can only process installer information requests made on or after 19 August 2015, when the privacy policy was updated. 

c. How to make an ECO2 or ECO2t 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 captured 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. 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. Is there a way I can check which measures they are?

Should Ofgem 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 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 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 with whom you have a contract, 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 can be found here. 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 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 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.

4. 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 monthly and decisions are taken on an individual basis.

Oil Boilers

1. 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 are 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. 

2. 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. 

3. 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 ECO2t Guidance: Delivery for more information.

4. What happens if I cannot identify the make and model of an oil boiler on the Boiler Assessment Checklist?

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. 

5. 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.

6. 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.

Electric Storage Heaters

1. Can I install electric storage heaters (ESHs) under ECO2t?

Yes, ESHs can be installed under the home heating cost reduction obligation (HHCRO). For an ESH to be eligible the installation must result in a heating cost saving (see our ECO2t Guidance: Delivery for information on HHCRO eligibility).

ESHs can be claimed under ECO2t as a qualifying electric storage heater replacement (QESH), a QESH repair, or an electric storage heater (ESH) measure.  

An electric storage heater can be considered a QESH if the ESH is broken down and cannot be economically repaired. If one ESH in a property meets the qualifying criteria, other ESHs in the premises can also be considered as a QESH if their responsiveness is less than 0.2. You must use our ESH Assessment checklist to determine if an ESH meets the criteria to be considered a QESH.

Where premises contain a QESH but other ESHs in the property have a responsiveness of greater than 0.2, the other ESHs can be replaced but the savings should be claimed as a separate non-qualifying ESH measure.

An ESH replacement which is not replacing a QESH can be an eligible measure under ECO if it results in a heating cost saving. An ESH measure is an ESH that has been installed which replaces a previous heating source other than a QESH. Where there is no heating system present before installation, we consider the ESH measure to be replacing electric room heaters.

2. What kind of electric storage heater (ESH) can I install under ECO2t?

Ofgem E-Serve does not approve specific products for installations under ECO2t. Measures installed under HHCRO must provide a heating cost saving to the customer. Different types of ESH replacements will provide different cost savings and these are reflected in the Deemed Scores Matrix

3. Who can install an electric storage heater (ESH)?

The ESH assessment and the repair or replacement of a qualifying ESH must be carried out by a person (the ‘operative’) with appropriate skill and experience. This can be demonstrated by the operative meeting the competency requirements for domestic electrical installation work listed in the ‘measure specific requirements for electric storage heaters’ in Annex D1 of PAS.

4. How do I know how many electric storage heaters (ESHs) are required to adequately heat the home?

You should undertake appropriate calculations in order to determine the size and number of ESH required to adequately heat the home. We expect that a person of appropriate skill and experience should be familiar with ESH sizing and design tools in order to make these calculations.

5. What are the warranty requirements for the installation of an electric storage heater (ESH)?

All ESHs repaired or replaced in ECO2 must be accompanied by a warranty of at least one year. The requirements that the warranty must meet is dependent on the ESH measure being delivered.  The warranty that accompanies a replacement ESH must reflect the proper functioning of the entire ESH that has been installed.

This requirement can be met by a manufacturer’s warranty and this can cover all ESHs installed in property as long as the details of the individual heaters, such as the serial numbers or any other unique identifier, are included in the warranty.

Installation of an ESH must adhere to the requirements in the manufacturer’s instruction manual. If these are not met, the manufacturer’s warranty may become invalid. In such cases, the ESH would be ineligible under ECO2t as there is no valid warranty in place, which is a requirement of the ECO2 Order (as amended).

One way that a supplier can assure themselves that an ESH has been installed to the manufacturer’s requirements and therefore the warranty is valid, is through using an installer registered with a Competent Person Scheme.

6. What is 100% of an electric storage heater (ESH) measure?

As with any ECO measure, you must install 100% of a measure unless there are reasonable grounds for not doing so.

In terms of percentage of measure installed:

  • 100% of a QESH/ESH measure is the replacement of all ESHs in the property. This may involve installing the same number of ESHs as were there before, or ESH sizing calculations may show that the property requires more or fewer ESHs than before.
  • 100% of an ESH measure is the installation of sufficient ESHs to heat a whole premises, not including any parts of the premises which are heated by QESHs.

In terms of percentage of measure installed, 100% of a QESH measure and 100% of an ESH measure may be claimed at the same premises. However, in terms of percentage of property treated, the total should never exceed 100%. Please see Chapter 7 in the guidance for more information on percentage of measure installed and the percentage of property treated.

Where 100% of the measure has not been installed, you should retain documentation which supports the reasons for judging that 100% cannot be installed. Examples of reasonable grounds for installing less than 100% of an ESH/QESH measure include where the District Network Operator (DNO) has restricted the additional electrical load that can be installed at the property, as well as where the consumer has not given consent for 100% of the measure to be installed.

Key ECO Resources

  • The ECO2t Guidance: Delivery is a comprehensive document for anyone looking for in-depth information regarding ECO.
  • The Deemed Scores Matrix provides the scores for non-DHS measures.
  • The ECO2t 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 ECO2t 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.