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 on our ECO supplier contact details list.

What is ECO and Ofgem’s role as the administrator?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO3) is a government energy-efficiency scheme in Great Britain, designed to tackle fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions. ECO is an obligation placed on larger energy companies to deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic premises. ECO is not a grant scheme; it is up to the energy companies to determine which measures they choose to fund, the level of funding they provide and the installer they choose to work with.

Ofgem administers the scheme on behalf of the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Our duties include:

  • Allocation of targets to obligated suppliers on a proportional basis
  • Monitoring supplier progress and deciding whether they’ve achieved their obligations
  • Reporting to the Secretary of State
  • Auditing, ensuring compliance and preventing and detecting fraud

Ofgem have no oversight of the contractual arrangements between the obligated energy companies and those that install energy efficiency measures on their behalf, therefore our ability to help you resolve a complaint is limited. However, we encourage you to get in touch with any feedback on any negative consumer experiences you may have had. This enables our work with industry to improve standards.

The ECO scheme is set out in The Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) Order 2018 (ECO3 Order) which commenced on 3 December 2018 and The Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) (Amendment) Order 2019 (ECO3.1) which commenced on 1 January 2020. Further information on our role as the administrator of the ECO scheme can be found on our About the ECO scheme webpage.

Can I benefit from ECO funding?

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. As ECO is not a grant scheme, different companies or installers may provide different levels or types of support towards the installation of energy efficiency or heating measures. We recommend consumers look around for the best deal suitable for them.

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 website, which 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. Please note you can receive help from another obligated energy company, while also remaining as a customer with your current energy provider.
  • You could also use the government's energy grants calculator to check if you are eligible for help with your energy bills.

Am I eligible for ECO?

ECO eligibility is assessed using a combination of householder criteria and house makeup. Information on how the house makeup eligibility is determined can be found in Chapter 3 of our ECO3 Delivery Guidance. The householder eligibility criteria is assessed using four separate pathways*:

1. Customer of the Warm Home discount, in receipt of eligible benefits and satisfies the income requirements

You will be eligible for ECO if you are living at private domestic premises and are a member of the Help to Heat Group (HTHG). A person living at private domestic premises is an eligible member of the HTHG if the person is a core group customer under the Warm Home Discount scheme, or receives at least one of the following benefits and satisfies 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
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • War Pensions Mobility Supplement.

2. Living in social housing with poor energy efficiency

You may be eligible for ECO if you are living in social housing that has an EPC rating of E, F or G. Social housing with and EPC rating of D may also be eligible for an innovation measure.

3. Eligibility by LA flex

Local Authorities are able to define eligibility criteria in their area to help households living in, or at risk of fuel poverty or households vulnerable to the effect of cold homes. This is known as “LA Flex”. These criteria must be published in a Statement of Intent (SoI) on their website. You may wish to contact your local authority for more information, or to find out if your household is named on a Local Authority Declaration. If your household is named on a Local Authority Declaration, then you may be eligible for ECO funding.

 

*Note that meeting the eligibility for an ECO measure will not guarantee that it will be installed. It is up to the energy companies to determine which measures they choose to fund, the level of funding they provide and the installer they choose to work with. We encourage that you speak to your energy supplier, should you have any queries about your eligibility and the installation process of ECO measures.

Can I get help outside of ECO?

There are several government schemes available to help you with your energy bills such as the Warm Home Discount. To find out about the schemes available you could use the government's energy grants calculator to check if you are eligible for help.

If you would like advice on energy efficiency, and information on the schemes on which 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.

Can I receive funding from both ECO and the Green Homes Grant?

You will not be able to claim the 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 the Green Homes Grant subsidy providing they are each for different measures – for example loft insulation and cavity wall insulation.

Please note, Ofgem are not the administrators of the Green Homes Grant. Further information can be found on The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) website and the Simple Energy Advice website.

What is in-fill?

Certain households that do not meet the criteria for fuel poverty or vulnerability to cold but that are in the same terrace as, immediately adjacent to, or in the same building as households that do meet those criteria, may also be eligible for solid wall insulation through this route. Measures delivered to these premises are known as “in-fill”.

You may be eligible for ECO under the two in-fill mechanisms that are established by the scheme. These are the local authority flexible eligibility (LA Flex) in-fill mechanism and the Affordable Warmth (AW) in-fill mechanism. You can find more information about in-fill in paragraphs 3.66-3.83 of the ECO3 Delivery Guidance. It is up to your local authority to determine whether you or a member of a qualifying household are eligible. For further information and questions about your eligibility, please speak to your local authority.

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

It is up to the energy companies to determine which measures they choose to fund, the level of funding they provide and the installer they choose to 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. ECO is not a grant scheme and as such, different companies or installers may provide different levels or types of support towards the installation of energy efficiency or heating measures. Ofgem do not comment on the scale or cost of consumer contributions. If you are asked to contribute to the cost of the installation, we encourage you to ‘shop around’ for the best deal to ensure you are satisfied with any offer made.

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.

Who are the obligated energy suppliers?

Installers offering measures under ECO –  I’ve received a letter from an ECO installer, are they genuine?

Installers are not approved by Ofgem under the ECO scheme. The role of Ofgem is to administer ECO and it is for the obligated energy companies to arrange the delivery of the energy efficiency measures. You can read more about our role on the About the ECO scheme webpage.

Energy companies work with third party installers to deliver their ECO obligations, which may result in an installer approaching a consumer directly to enquire about installing a particular measure under ECO.

From 1 January 2020, all installers must be TrustMark registered businesses, or equivalent in order to deliver measures under ECO. If a company approaches you and claims to be an installer, always ask to see their credentials. You should expect to see the following certification to prove they are registered with a consumer protection body:

  • Most measures under ECO must installed by, or under the responsibility of a person who is registered with TrustMark, or equivalent. Installers registered with TrustMark will have a registration number.
  • If they are installing a district heating connection, they must either be registered with Heat Trust or have equivalent consumer protection in place.

In addition, installers must be certified under a regulatory body to ensure the installation standard of the measure. You should expect an installer to hold the following certification for the relevant measure types:

  • Most installations will need to be carried out by a PAS (Publicly Available Specification) certified installer and will have a registration number.
  • If they are installing low carbon microgeneration measures (eg measures that produce heat), they need to be Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accredited and will be registered on the MCS website.
  • If they are repairing or replacing a gas boiler, the company 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.

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

The installer should provide this 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 whom 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 also recommend you retain the documents below, as applicable.

Insulation Measures

ECO ‘appropriate guarantees’

  • Insulation measures (such as solid wall insulation or cavity wall, including party cavity wall insulation, room-in-roof insulation and underfloor insulation), must be accompanied by an appropriate guarantee. Details of which can be find in paragraph 5.52 of the ECO3 Guidance Delivery. An appropriate guarantee must last for at least 25 years.
  • Additional financial protection is also required for underfloor insulation (UFI) and room-in-roof insulation (RIRI). It became a mandatory requirement to have an appropriate guarantee in place for the UFI and RIRI measure completed on or after 1 July 2020.  Appropriate guarantees, which have been reviewed and considered to meet the relevant criteria, are listed on TrustMark’s website. 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 ECO1: Appropriate Guarantees webpage.

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.
  • Ofgem do not hold details of which companies issue guarantees for the installation of measures and are not involved in the contractual arrangements for these types of guarantees.

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 of at least two years, 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.

Other energy efficiency measures

  • For other types of energy efficiency measures installed before 31 December 2019 (the ECO3 Measures Table provides a comprehensive list of measures eligible 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.
  • From 1 January 2020, all ECO3 measures delivered by a TrustMark registered business must be accompanied by a guarantee of at least two years.

I am a landlord in the private rented sector (PRS), what measures can be installed under ECO?

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 types that can be installed in PRS properties under ECO 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, first time central heating, or a renewable heating measure.
  3. First Time Central Heating (FTCH) measures are eligible in PRS properties with any EPC efficiency rating, provided they meet the FTCH pre-conditions, which are that all areas of cavity wall and roof that can be insulated must be insulated in order for the pre-conditions to be met. Further information on the FTCH pre-conditions are detailed in Chapter 4 of the ECO3 Guidance: Delivery document.

I am a tenant in the private rented sector (PRS), do I need consent from my landlord for ECO measures to be delivered?

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. 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.

Consent 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.

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.

Can I get my boiler 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. 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?

Extensions have a different age of construction compared to the original property, and if completed on or after 1st October 2018 are considered a ‘new build extension’. An ECO measure may not be delivered to a new build extension until the works for the extension have been completed, and the extension has been occupied.

Is window glazing an eligible measure under ECO?

Yes. To find out which measures are eligible under ECO3, refer to our ECO3 Measures Table. While a replacement window glazing measure is eligible under ECO3, we stress that it is up to the energy companies to determine which measures they choose to fund.  

Requesting information from Ofgem about your ECO measure

If the measure has been installed under ECO3, you are 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. This process is a right given by the General Data Protection Regulation (2018), to give an individual the right to obtain a copy of their personal data as well as other supplementary information through Subject access requests (SARs). For more information, please contact ECO.SAR@ofgem.gov.uk.

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

Complaints about standards of installation

This information is for domestic consumers who have 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 page and BEIS' cavity wall insulation consumer guide to issues arising from installations

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. We have no oversight of the contractual arrangements between the obligated energy companies and those that install energy efficiency measures on their behalf. As such, our ability to help you resolve a complaint is limited. However, we encourage you to get in touch with any feedback on any negative consumer experiences you may have had. This enables our work with industry to help 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. On 1 January 2020 the ECO3  (Amendment) Order 2019 commenced which applies to all energy efficiency measures installed after that date. TrustMark were incorporated in ECO3 on 1 January 2020, requiring all installers to be TrustMark registered businesses, or equivalent from this date. 
  • 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.

Subject access requests check information from CESP, ECO1, ECO2, ECO2t and ECO3. For the other 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 cannot 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.SAR@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

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. In addition, Ofgem do not 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.

   i.    insulation measures

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 installation. All room in roof and underfloor insulation installations carried out after 1 July 2020 must be accompanied by an appropriate warranty of 25 years or more.

  ii.   Boiler measures

We required a warranty of at least one year 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. For installations carried out after 1 January 2020, we require a warranty for a minimum of two years for all boiler installations.

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.

 iii.   Electric Storage Heaters (ESHs)

All electric storage heaters repaired, replaced or upgraded under ECO prior to 1 January 2020 must be accompanied by a warranty of at least one year. For newer measures installed on or after 1 January 2020, all electric storage heater repair, replacement or upgrade must be accompanied with a 2-year warranty. This can be a manufacturer’s warranty. We do not hold the details of any warranties issued.

 iv.   Other measures

For measures installed prior to 1 January 2020, guarantees were not a required for ECO. However, the product manufacturer or the installer may have provided a policy for the installation and you should refer to this. As of 1 January 2020, all other ECO measures must be accompanied by a guarantee of at least two years.

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 have not 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), 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.SAR@ofgem.gov.uk) for more information.

Step 6.   Alternative options

If your problem is still not resolved, 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 has been notified to us.

Please contact the ECO team (ECO.SAR@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

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

The ECO3 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.