The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to tackle fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions.
How ECO works
Under ECO, medium and larger energy suppliers fund the installation of energy efficiency measures in British households.
Each obligated supplier has an overall target based on its share of the domestic energy market in Britain.
The obligated energy suppliers work with installers to introduce certain efficiency measures into your home, such as loft or wall insulation, or heating measures.
The ECO3 scheme consists of one distinct obligation: the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO).
The obligation explained
The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation requires energy suppliers to promote the installation of measures that lead to financial savings on energy bills, such as the installation of insulation and heating measures.
You are eligible for ECO if you are a core group customer from scheme year 9 onwards under the Warm Home Discount Scheme or you receive at least one of the following benefits and satisfy the relevant income requirements, where applicable:
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer's Allowance
- Child Benefit (on the condition that the household’s relevant income does not exceed the amount set out in Chapter 3 of our scheme guidance)
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Pension Guarantee Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- Income Support
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Mobility Supplement
- Personal Independence Payment
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Tax Credits (Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits)
- Universal Credit
Alternatively, if you are living in social housing with an EPC rating of E, F or G you might also be eligible for the scheme. Social housing with an EPC rating of D can also qualify for an innovation measure. Further information on innovation can be found in our Innovation Guidance which will be published in due course.
Local authorities are also able to refer residents in their areas to obligated energy suppliers so that they can be offered support under the scheme.
Under ECO3 there is an additional in-fill mechanism for solid wall insulation and district heating measures. Under this mechanism if 66% of eligible households receive either of these measures, an adjacent property can also receive the same measure without needing to meet the eligibility criteria.
Can I benefit from ECO?
In order to benefit from ECO you must own your own home or have the permission of your landlord, including if your property is owned by a social housing provider or management company.
If you live in England or Wales and would like advice on energy efficiency, including energy saving schemes such as ECO, which you may be able to benefit from, the Simple Energy Advice website offers impartial energy efficiency advice. If you live in Scotland, you should contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 or complete their contact form.
You can also contact any of the obligated suppliers to find out how they may be able to help you. You can benefit from ECO regardless of who you purchase your energy from. You don’t need to buy energy from an obligated supplier in order to benefit.
You may be contacted directly by an installer claiming to be working under the ECO scheme. If the company claims to be an installer, always ask to see the following credentials: for most measures, installers under ECO must be PAS 2030:2017 (Publicly Available Specification) accredited, and will have a registration number. If they are installing microgeneration measures (eg measures that produce heat) they need to be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited and will be registered on the MCS website. All companies repairing or replacing a gas boiler must be registered with Gas Safe. You can check this on Gas Safe’s website.
It is important to note that eligibility for ECO does not necessarily mean that an energy supplier or installer will decide to install an energy efficiency measure in your home.
Green Homes Grant
The Green Homes Grant (GHG) is a government grant in England to assist homeowners with energy-efficient and low-carbon heating home improvements. This is not administered by Ofgem, but measures under this grant may interact with our existing schemes. For further information on eligibility and how to apply, please visit the guidance published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Simple Energy Advice website also provides information on the scheme.
Please note, you will not be able to claim a Green Homes Grant subsidy vouchers towards the cost of a measure which has also received funding under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). However, you can claim both ECO and GHG subsidy providing they are each for different measures, for example loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.
Contact us and we’ll be happy to help.