FAQs for domestic consumers and landlords

Mae’r dudalen yma ar gael yn Gymraeg.

Here are answers to some common questions about the Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) scheme.

If you would like advice on energy efficiency, including energy saving schemes such as ECO which you may be able to benefit from, and you live in England and Wales, the Each Home Counts Advice website offers impartial energy efficiency advice.

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

You may also wish to contact any obligated energy company directly to find out if they may be able to help you. Please note you can receive help from another obligated energy company, while also remaining as a customer with your current energy provider. The relevant contact details for these companies can be found here.

What is ECO?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain designed to tackle fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions.

The ECO scheme is set out in the Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) Order 2018 (ECO3 Order) which commenced on 3 December 2018. Information on our role as the administrator of the ECO scheme can be found on our website.

What are the different obligations under ECO?

As of 1 October 2018 there is one main obligation for suppliers to achieve under ECO3, the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO). This obligation includes the replacement of broken heating systems, the upgrade of inefficient heating systems, and the installation of insulation to reduce home heating costs for low income, fuel poor and vulnerable people.

HHCRO efficiency measures can delivered to:

a) private domestic premises occupied by someone in receipt of specific benefits (the help to heat group); or

b) private domestic premises listed in a local authority declaration (and those which meet the associated ‘in-fill’ criteria); or

c) social housing with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) energy efficiency rating of E, F or G; or

d) social housing with an EPC energy efficiency rating of D, E, F or G for innovation measures and demonstration actions only; or

e) private domestic premises as Affordable Warmth (AW) “in-fill” measures, as long as the premises at which these measures are installed are linked to two other separate premises in a particular area that were eligible under (a) or (c), and all 3 premises have had SWI or DHS measures delivered.

The HHCRO obligation also includes two sub-obligations:

  • The Rural sub-obligation, and
  • The Solid Wall Minimum Requirement (SWMR)

A second obligation, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) ran under the previous ECO scheme but has now closed.

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, you should check the Each Home Counts Advice website offers impartial energy efficiency advice. If you live in Scotland, you can contact Home Energy Scotland (0808 808 2282). They can let you know whether you are eligible for support under the scheme.
  • 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 may also be approached by a Green Deal Provider or a Green Deal Assessor who still operate under ECO. These companies are able to determine what measures could be installed in your property and what your finance options are.
  • You could also use the government's energy grants calculator to check if you are eligible for help with your energy bills.

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 measure type and a number of other factors. 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?

It is possible to get your boiler repaired or replaced under ECO3. For a boiler replacement to be eligible, immediately prior to the installation the premises must have a boiler which has broken down and cannot be economically repaired.

However, the ECO3 scheme includes a cap on the replacement of all broken heating systems. No more than 21.023% of a supplier’s total obligation can be achieved by the replacement of broken heating systems. The following measures can be installed outside of the broken heating system cap:

  • First Time Central Heating (FTCH)
  • A renewable heating system
  • A district heating system
  • A secondary heating measure when installed alongside a primary insulation measure
  • A demonstration action or innovation score uplift measure
  • The installation of heating controls

See Chapter 4 of the ECO3 Guidance: Delivery document for more information on eligible boiler measures.

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

Yes, but ECO measures cannot be delivered to unfinished extensions.

Is window glazing an eligible measure under ECO?

Yes. To find out which measures are eligible under ECO3, refer to our ECO3 Measures Table.

Checking the credentials of installers offering measures under ECO

If the company claims to be an installer, always ask to see their credentials. For most measures, installers under ECO must be PAS 2030 (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. For oil boiler installations, installers must be registered with the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC). You can check this on the OFTEC website.

Advice for landlords in the private rented sector

It is the eligibility of the tenant of the property, rather than the landlord, that needs to be considered for ECO3 measures. To reflect the Minimum level of Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) for private rented sector (PRS) properties, the measure type that can be included in PRS properties depends on the EPC rating. The following are eligible measures for PRS properties:

  1. PRS properties occupied by a member of the help to heat group with an initial EPC efficiency rating of A, B, C, D, or E can receive any measure, except for the installation of a heating system to replace or repair a broken heating system.
  2. PRS properties occupied by a member of the help to heat group with an initial EPC efficiency rating of F or G (or unrated) are only eligible to receive solid wall insulation or a renewable heating measure.
  3. First Time Central Heating (FTCH) measures are eligible in PRS properties with EPC efficiency rating of A-E but may only be delivered in PRS F or G (or unrated) properties providing the measure is a renewable central or district heating measure.
  4. A renewable heating measure will also be eligible as a solid wall alternative measure in PRS F or G (or unrated) properties.

For measures to be installed in PRS properties tenants should obtain permission from their landlord. Suppliers may choose to request evidence that the landlord’s permission has been obtained for the delivery of a measure(s) in a PRS property. This can be evidenced using the ‘Private housing FTCH declaration and a landlord permission’ template for both FTCH measures and non-FTCH measures in PRS premises. Suppliers may also wish to use the ‘Landlord or Management Company Permission form’ to evidence similar information. Both documents can be used to evidence that the property is owned by a private landlord and also to demonstrate the EPC rating of the premises. Suppliers may choose to have further evidence requirements in relation to PRS properties beyond this.

Advice for tenants in the private rented sector

You may be able to have ECO3 measures installed if you are a tenant living in privately rented premises and you meet the relevant eligibility criteria. To do so you must gain consent from your landlord.

Part two of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 sets out some of your rights regarding obtaining consent in certain circumstances. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (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.

To reflect the separate minimum standards, the measure type that can be delivered to private domestic premises under ECO is dependent on the EPC energy efficiency rating of the property before the installation of the measure being claimed:

  1. PRS properties occupied by a member of the help to heat group with an initial EPC efficiency rating of A, B, C, D, or E can receive any measure, except for the installation of a heating system to replace or repair a broken heating system.
  2. PRS properties occupied by a member of the help to heat group with an initial EPC efficiency rating of F or G are only eligible to receive solid wall insulation or a renewable heating measure.
  3. First Time Central Heating (FTCH) measures are eligible in PRS properties with EPC efficiency rating of A-E but may only be delivered in PRS F or G properties providing the measure is a renewable central or district heating measure
  4. A renewable heating measure will also be eligible as a solid wall alternative measure in F or G properties.

For further information see Chapter 3 of the ECO3 Guidance: Delivery document.

What documents should I (the occupier) receive from the installer of an ECO measure?

These documents should be kept in a safe place in case you need to refer to them at a later date.

You should receive the following:

  • Documents setting out the arrangements for the works, for example a contract.

Ensure you have a document setting out the arrangements to carry out the work in your property. Obtain your own independent technical or legal advice if you think this is necessary.

  • ECO3 privacy notice

This should be provided by the installer before the installation takes place. This makes sure the person who lives at the property (where the ECO3 measure is delivered) knows how and why their information will be processed, including who the information will be disclosed to.  If you need to provide details of any disability benefits to confirm your eligibility, you may be required to sign a separate consent statement.

  • Declaration of conformity and completed installation

After the works are complete, the installer should ask you to sign the ‘Declaration of conformity and completed installation’ form. It is important that you only sign this once works are complete and you are satisfied with the works. You should retain a copy of this document.

For individual measures we recommend you retain the documents below, as applicable.

Wall insulation

ECO ‘appropriate guarantees’

  • Any wall insulation measure (such as cavity wall or external wall insulation) must be accompanied by a guarantee which lasts at least 25 years. We publish a list of appropriate guarantee providers on our website. If your wall insulation was installed after April 2015 then we can confirm the name of the guarantee provider to you.
  • If you do not have your guarantee and the measure was installed before April 2015, then you could contact all the guarantee agencies covering the type of wall insulation and ask them if they have a record of a guarantee covering your address. A list of guarantee agencies covering ECO measures installed before April 2015 is available on our website.

Manufacturer/installer guarantee

  • In addition to receiving an ECO appropriate guarantee, you may also be provided with a manufacturer’s and/or an installer’s guarantee covering the installation.

New or replacement boilers or electric storage heaters

  • Boilers or electric storage heaters that are repaired, replaced or upgraded under ECO must be accompanied by a warranty, supplied by the installer at the time of installation. We do not hold details of which company issued warranties for heating system repairs, replacements or upgrades. You may wish to check if the boiler has a manufacturer’s warranty independent of ECO that may also have a claims procedure outlined. Registered engineers must notify the installation of a new boiler to their Local Authorities. The notification can be made through the Gas Safe Register. Once notification is completed, a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate should arrive via post within 10-15 working days. Please ensure you retain this Certificate. If you do not receive this, please follow up with the installer. You can find more information on the Gas Safe Register via the following link.

Other energy efficiency measures

  • For other types of energy efficiency measures (here is a list of eligible measures under ECO3), guarantees are not required. However, the product manufacturer or the installer may have provided a guarantee/ warranty for the installation and you should refer to this in the event that any issues arise with the measure. Make sure that you ask the installer if the product comes with a manufacturer’s warranty and if so make sure that you get a copy of the warranty from your installer.

Requesting information from Ofgem about your ECO measure

If the measure has been installed under ECO3, you may be able to exercise your right of access and request Ofgem to provide you with all of the data we hold on the measure that was installed at your property. This may include the name of the installer (if the measure was installed after April 2015), the ECO appropriate guarantee provider if applicable, the energy company who funded the measure, and whether the measure installed at your property has been notified to us. For more information please contact the ECO team.

Please note that we will not have information on our database until three months after the installation is complete.

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. Ofgem does not administer the Green Deal.

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. 

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.

For information specific to complaints about standard of cavity wall insulation installation, see our cavity wall insulation FAQs page

Our role and ability to help

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

Because we have no oversight of the contractual arrangements between the obligated energy companies and those that install energy efficiency measures on their behalf, our ability to help you resolve a complaint is limited. 

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 may help you understand which one.

A summary of current and recent schemes is provided below.

  • The ECO Scheme commenced with ECO1, which ran from January 2013 to March 2015.  The ECO Scheme was extended in April 2015 (ECO2) and was due to conclude in March 2017. However, ECO2 was further extended and continued until September 2018 (ECO2t). This was followed by the current scheme, ECO3 which commenced on 3 December 2018 but applies to energy efficiency measures installed from 1 October 2018.
  • 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 determine whether it was installed under the scheme in question, or any details about the installation itself. In these cases you would need to rely on any paperwork you might have to identify the installer.

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 (eco@ofgem.gov.uk) for instructions on how to access any information we may have about the measure installed in your property (please note that we will not have this information on our database until three 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. This information and the guarantee should have been provided to you at install.

We may be able to confirm the name of the relevant guarantee agency if the measure was installed after March 2015. This will be provided to you as a code, which you can check against our Appropriate Guarantees list to find out which company is responsible. The list of appropriate guarantee providers and their contact details can be found on our website for ECO1 and ECO2 (including ECO2t) and ECO3.

Please note, however, that we do not hold copies of any guarantee certificates. You will have to contact the guarantee agency to obtain copies of any certificates that may have been issued.

We don’t hold any information relating to guarantees for measures installed before April 2015.

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.

Boilers

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

Under ECO2 and ECO3, we require a warranty for at least a year for a boiler repair, replacement or upgrade.

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

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

Electric Storage Heaters (ESHs)

All electric storage heaters repaired, replaced or upgraded under ECO must be accompanied by a warranty of at least one year. This can be a manufacturer’s warranty. We do not hold the details of any warranties issued.

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

If you haven’t found redress through the installer, 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, Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) the National Insulation Association, and Green Deal Oversight & Registration Body have procedures for complaints against registered members. Contact details are below.

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 (eco@ofgem.gov.uk) for more information.

Next steps

If your problem is still not dealt with, the Citizens Advice consumer helpline may be able to help. The 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

For the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), which ran from October 2009 to 31 December 2012, we may be able to confirm if a measure was notified to us.

Please contact the ECO team (eco@ofgem.gov.uk) if you believe that this applies to you.

Contacting the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Although Ofgem is the appointed administrator of ECO, 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
1 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0ET
Email: enquiries@beis.gov.uk