Understanding the ECO scheme

September 11th, 2013

do I qualify?With the ever-increasing energy bills we face in the UK because of price hikes from the major suppliers, it’s no wonder energy efficiency is always on the mind. A startling statistic is that since 2004, the average British energy bill has doubled. And worse news still: Your bills will probably double again by 2020.

So now you know this, what are your options? Well improving the efficiency of your property is your best bet. By doing this you can limit heat loss and reduce the amount of heat you actually need to produce in the home to keep warm.

There are two main options to consider when going about this. You could invest in the efficiency measures yourself, by upgrading a boiler or having wall cavity insulation inserted. Or, you could find out if you’re eligible for a new Government scheme: The Energy Company Obligation.

What is the Energy Company Obligation?

The Government-run Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme is in place to help homeowners in the UK struggling with inefficiency and high energy bills. In particular the Government is keen to help those who are in the most vulnerable positions, whether this is because of fuel poverty or inefficient properties.

Of course, if you’re struggling to make ends meet as it is, then you’re unlikely to have the funds in place to invest in home efficiency measure yourself which is why the ECO scheme is set to become a very popular option. This scheme will fund improvements such as a replacement boiler of wall cavity insulation, to beat heat loss and slash bills.

It’s all part of the Government’s bigger carbon saving picture, in line with the Green Deal scheme, which you may know a little about. If not, it’s basically a scheme issuing loans to homeowners in the UK to upgrade insulation and boilers. The loan is repaid with the money saved on fuel bills, ensuring you won’t be left out of pocket.

The ECO initiative is projected to be open until March 2015 at the very least and will form the basis of meeting 2050 carbon saving targets. Funded by the UK’s big energy companies, such as the household names of British Gas, npower and EON, there will be £1.3bn pumped into the scheme annually.

Can I qualify for the ECO funding?

With three parts to the main ECO scheme, there’s a strong possibility you may benefit from funding:

  • Affordable Warmth

The Affordable Warmth scheme is intended to directly tackle fuel poverty in the UK in an effort to insulate homes. Fuel poverty is a serious issue that affects thousands of homeowners in Britain and if you’re spending 10% or more of your income on energy bills, you’ll be in this situation. But with the Affordable Warmth scheme you could be eligible for a brand new A-rated efficiency boiler to be installed in your home. And this could cut your bills by a fantastic £300 each year.

  • The Carbon Reduction Obligation (CERO)

This part of the scheme isn’t solely aimed at homes which are suffering from fuel poverty, but are difficult to insulate too. Typically it’s the walls which are covered by the CERO strand of ECO, with solid walls and cavity walls ready to benefit. Heat is lost in a number of ways, but the walls are one of the main culprits and the Government want to address this by offering free solid wall and cavity wall insulation to homeowners around the country.

  • Carbon Savings Community Obligation (CSCO)

The CSCO targets specific areas of the country which are in dire need of energy efficiency improvements. It’s typically focused on the most vulnerable households in the UK (the bottom 15%). If you live in a CSCO area you could be eligible for free insulation under the scheme.