It’s been around for a few years now, but many homeowners still have no idea what the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) is or how it can help them.
It’s a shame, because many would argue that the ECO scheme is a very rare example of something genuinely useful being offered for free to the public, courtesy of the Government.
How does the scheme work?
Whilst it stems from Government legislation – the Electricity and Gas (Energy Companies Obligation) Order 2012 (as amended) – the obligation is actually on the big six energy companies. These ‘suppliers’ are allocated a proportion of an overall carbon-saving target, dependent on their relative share of the market.
It is estimated that the suppliers must spend around £1.3bn a year and the suppliers can achieve their targets by delivering energy efficiency measures at domestic premises under the three core channels:
- CERO – Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation
- Covering a wide range of improvements like loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and solid wall insulation (primary measures), as well as more minor changes like glazing and draught proofing.
- CSCO – Carbon Saving Community Obligation
- This area of the scheme is particularly targeted to low-income areas and households in rural areas. There is a so-called rural sub-obligation within this, which means at least 15% of the target must be in rural areas.
- HHCRO – Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation
- This covers the promotion of measures which will help low income and vulnerable households heat their homes more efficiently. This includes replacement of boilers.
It is a legal requirement on these companies that they meet their targets, so hundreds of thousands of homes have already been insulated since it began in 2013. Nevertheless, significant progress still needs to be made for the suppliers to meet their obligations.
What does this mean for me?
The long and the short of it is that multi-national energy companies are obligated to ensure homes cost less to run, at no cost to that homeowner.
If you are eligible, this should be of great interest to you – as better insulation means a warmer house in winter, a cooler house in summer and potentially substantial reductions on your energy bills.
The good news is that the CERO aspect of the scheme is available to any household, owner-occupied or tenanted. The level of funding varies, but if your home is poorly insulated then you are likely to receive the full installation completely free.
The current round of the Scheme ends on March 2017, which gives you almost a year to take advantage of it. More information is available from the Government website here or you can find your local CIGA registered installer here.
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