FAQs for domestic consumers

Mae’r dudalen yma ar gael yn Gymraeg.

Here are answers to some common questions about the ECO scheme. You may wish to contact the Energy Saving Advice Service (ESAS), an independent helpline set up by the Energy Saving Trust (EST). This service provides free, impartial energy-saving advice for homes and businesses in England and Wales.

Contact the ESAS helpline on 0300 123 1234 or email energy-advice@est.org.uk. Alternatively visit the Energy Saving Trust website.

If you live in Scotland, contact the Home Energy Scotland (HES) helpline on 0808 808 2282 or visit the Energy Saving Trust website.

What is ECO?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty.

What are the different obligations under ECO

ECO consists of three separate obligations:

1) The Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO). Suppliers are obliged to reduce carbon emissions by promoting the installation of wall and roof insulation and connections to district heating systems.

Other insulation measures can also be installed, as long as they meet certain conditions.

2) The Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO). Suppliers are obliged to generate carbon dioxide savings by installing insulation and connections to district heating systems in areas of low income.

At least 15% of the target must be achieved in low-income rural areas or to people receiving certain benefits in rural areas. 

You can see whether you live in an eligible area for CSCO by using our CSCO tool.

3) The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO), also known as the Affordable Warmth Obligation. Suppliers are obliged to reduce the cost of heating homes by £3.7bn.

This obligation focuses on installing insulation and replacing boilers and electric storage heaters to help low-income and vulnerable people (the ‘affordable warmth group’).

To find out whether you’re eligible, visit the ECO section of the government's website.

You can benefit under HHCRO if you own your home. Support under CSCO and CERO can be delivered to those living in social housing as well as home owners.

Who are the obligated energy suppliers?

Can I benefit from ECO funding?

There are a number of ways to find out whether you can benefit from ECO:

If you live in England and Wales, your first point of contact should be the Energy Saving Advice Service (0300 123 1234). If you live in Scotland, you can contact Home Energy Scotland (0808 808 2282).

You can make further enquiries about accessing ECO measures by contacting any one of the obligated suppliers (it doesn’t have to be your energy provider).

You can contact a Green Deal Provider or a Green Deal Assessor to determine what measures could be installed in your property and what your finance options are.

To help you find out if your premises is eligible for measures installed under CSCO, you can also use our CSCO tool.

We’ve also published an affordable warmth group guidance note and a private domestic premises guidance note to help you work out if you are eligible under HHCRO.

You could also use the government's energy grants calculator.

Will I have to pay to have an energy efficiency measure installed?

It’s up to suppliers to decide which measures they fund, how much they spend, and which installer they work with.

The level of funding will depend on the carbon or cost savings that can be achieved, the obligation that the measure is being installed under, and whether other sources of finance are available.

In some cases you may be asked to contribute to the cost of the installation. If so, we encourage you to ‘shop around’ for the best deal.

Can I only get ECO support from my own energy supplier?

No. Any obligated supplier can deliver measures to any domestic premises in England, Wales and Scotland, provided the eligibility criteria are met.

Can I get my boiler repaired or replaced under ECO?

Yes – it’s possible to get your boiler repaired or replaced under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) also known the Affordable Warmth Obligation.

HHCRO is aimed at people receiving certain benefits and living in private domestic premises (generally this means not premises owned or let by a social landlord, such as a council or housing association).

More details on eligibility are available from the government.

I’m planning to build an extension to my home. Can I get help from ECO to make it more energy efficient?

Only improvements that exceed the requirements of existing building regulations can get ECO support.

You can find more information on eligibility requirements in Chapter 2 of our ECO Guidance.

Is window glazing an eligible measure under ECO?

Yes. To find out which measures are eligible under ECO, refer to our ECO Measures Table.

Under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation, window glazing is a secondary measure. To qualify as an ECO measure it must be installed at the same premises as a primary measure, such as wall or loft insulation.

Checking the credentials of installers offering measures under ECO

If the company claims to be an installer, always ask to see their credentials. For instance, installers under ECO must be PAS 2030 (Publicly Available Specification) or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited.

Advice for tenants in the private rented sector

You may be able to have ECO measures installed if you are a tenant living in privately rented premises through the HHRCO, CERO and CSCO obligations. To do so you must gain consent from your landlord.

If you are able to secure appropriate funding, such as funding via ECO, then the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent from April 2016. This right is set out in Part two of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

BEIS have published a guide on their website outlining these regulations in further detail and the key steps a tenant must take when preparing an energy efficiency consent request.

What is the Green Deal?

The Green Deal was a government scheme which began in 2012. It was designed to help you make energy-saving improvements to your home and find the best way to pay for them.

Although Ofgem administers the ECO scheme, we have no part in administering the Green Deal. Gemserv is the appointed administrator of the Green Deal. For more information, visit their website.

The government is no longer funding the Green Deal Finance Company, so there will no longer be any releases of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund.

How is the Green Deal still relevant to ECO?

As a domestic consumer, you can still search for local Green Deal installers, assessors or providers to discuss having an ECO measure installed.

Do I need to get a Green Deal Advice Report in order to have a measure installed under ECO?

The Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) and Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO) require a Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR) or a chartered surveyor’s report. However, you don’t need a GDAR or a chartered surveyor’s report under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO).

GDARs can be provided by authorised Green Deal advisors which can be found on the Green Deal Oversight & Registration Body website.

Do I need to have a Green Deal Occupancy Assessment done to get a Green Deal Advice Report (GDAR)?

Yes. A GDAR combines an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and a Green Deal Occupancy Assessment.

The occupancy assessment is personalised to the household and estimates energy use, taking into consideration behavioural patterns (such as working patterns).

Complaints about standards of installation

This information is for domestic consumers who’ve had energy efficiency measures delivered through a UK government scheme.

We have no role in the administration of other schemes such as those run by local authorities, and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments.

Our role and ability to help

Our role as administrator of ECO generally involves setting targets for each energy company, ensuring compliance and monitoring their progress towards these targets.

Because we have no oversight of the contractual arrangements between energy companies and those that install energy efficiency measures on their behalf, our ability to help you resolve a complaint is largely based on providing general advice, and in some cases providing information on the installation itself.

That said, we are always keen to hear about the problems experienced by consumers so we can work with industry to improve standards.

The steps outlined below should help you resolve complaints about an energy efficiency measure installed in your home.

Step 1: Find out when the measure was installed

If the measure was installed under a UK government energy efficiency scheme, the date of installation will help you understand which one.

A summary of current and recent schemes is provided below.

  • The Energy Companies Obligation, known as ECO1, ran from January 2013 to March 2015. The Energy Company Obligation, known as ECO2, began in April 2015 and will conclude in March 2017.
  • The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) ran between 1 April 2008 and 31 December 2012.
  • The Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) came into force on 1 September 2009 and the obligation period ran from 1 October 2009 to 31 December 2012.
  • The first Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC) scheme ran from 2002 to 2005 and the second (EEC2) ran from 2005 to 2008.
  • The Energy Efficiency Standards of Performance (EESoP) ran from 1994 to 2002.

For the schemes that have now closed, it is unlikely that we will be able to provide you with any information to support determine whether it was installed under the scheme in question, or any details about the installation itself.

Step 2: Find your paperwork and contact the installer

The next step is to contact the installer responsible for the work. You can find this information in the paperwork given to you when it was installed.

If you can’t find this information and the measure was installed in your property from April 2015 onwards, we can confirm the name of the installer we have registered on our database. To request this, please contact the ECO team. (Please note that we will not have this information on our database until two months after the installation has been completed.)

If your measure was installed before April 2015, the energy company that helped to fund it may have a record of the installer’s name (see step 5) and may be able to help you.

Step 3: Find your guarantee or warranty

Wall insulation

If the measure was installed under ECO and is a type of wall insulation, it will be covered by a guarantee. If the installer has gone out of business or not addressed your concerns, you should then contact the guarantee provider.

There’s a list of appropriate guarantee providers and their contact details on our website for ECO1 and ECO2.

For ECO measures installed from April 2015 we can confirm the name of the relevant guarantee agency for wall insulation, but we don’t hold this information for measures installed before then.

If you do not have your guarantee and the measure was installed before April 2015, you could contact all the guarantee agencies covering the type of wall insulation in question and ask them if they have a record of a guarantee covering your address.

Contact the ECO team for more information.

Boilers

We required a warranty of at least one or two years for any boiler repair under ECO1.

Under ECO2, we require a warranty for at least a year for a boiler repair or replacement.

We do not hold details of which company issued warranties for boiler repairs or replacements.

You may also wish to check if the boiler has a manufacturer’s warranty independent of ECO which may include a separate claims procedure.

Other measures

Guarantees are not required for other measures installed under ECO. However, the product manufacturer or the installer may have provided a policy for the installation and you should refer to this.

Note: Some guarantee providers recommend that consumers contact them at the same time as contacting the installer about a complaint. This could help to speed up the resolution of your complaint.

Step 4: Contact the relevant oversight body

The installer responsible for the work may also be part of an accreditation and/or certification body, and/or trade association that maintains industry standards.

Organisations such as the Gas Safe Register, the National Insulation Association, and Green Deal Oversight & Registration Body have procedures for complaints against registered members. Contact details are below.

Gas Safe Register Tel: 0800 408 5500
National Insulation Association Tel: 01525 383313
Green Deal Oversight & Registration Body

Step 5: Contact the energy company

The contract for the work done in your home is typically between you and the installer. However, in some cases the energy company which ultimately funded the measure may be able to give you information on the installer or the guarantee provided.

If your measure was installed under the ECO scheme then we can tell you which company ultimately funded it. Contact the ECO team for more information.

Next steps

If your problem is still not dealt with, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline may be able to help. Its number is 08454 04 05 06.

If you wish to report a problem to Trading Standards, mention this to the adviser.

Citizens Advice can refer matters to Trading Standards, who will then decide whether to take on the case.

Complaints about measures installed before the ECO scheme

The information above applies mainly to ECO measures but similar steps should be followed for complaints about energy efficiency measures installed under previous schemes.

As mentioned above, for schemes that have now closed we are unlikely to be able to provide you with any details about the installation.

The exception to this is that we still hold information on measures installed through the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) which ran from October 2009 to 31 December 2012. We may be able to confirm if the measure was installed under CESP and the company that ultimately funded it.

Please contact the ECO team if you believe that this applies to you.

Contacting the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy set the overall policy for the ECO scheme.

Office address and general enquiries about ECO

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
3 Whitehall Place
London
SW1A 2AW
Email: enquiries@beis.gov.uk