New Criteria Announced for ECO2 Boiler Grants

What is ECO?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government backed initiative that was introduced in 2013 to help fight fuel poverty in the UK.

There are three parts to the scheme:

  • The Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation
  • The Carbon Saving Community Obligation
  • The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation

Funding for the ECO scheme does not actually come from the government, but some of the main energy providers in the UK, including the big 6. The programme creates a legal obligation for these suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of households across the country.

Who are the Big 6 Energy Companies?

The Big 6 energy providers dominate the UK market and are made up of British Gas, Npower, SSE, Scottish Power, E.ON and EDF. There are also additional energy suppliers who are a part of the ECO scheme.

If you don’t receive your energy from one of the big 6, not to worry! As long as you are a domestic energy user in England, Wales or Scotland and you meet the eligibility criteria, one of the obligated energy suppliers can carry out the work regardless of which energy company you are with.

What’s New in ECO2?

The biggest change for the ECO scheme is the inclusion of Universal Credit as a qualifying benefit. Universal Credit has been gradually introduced in the UK since 2013 and merges certain benefits into one monthly payment. If you receive Universal Credit and have an income £1,250 or less per month, plus one additional qualifying factor, you could now benefit from the scheme.

The threshold for income you can earn and still qualify if you receive Working Tax Credit (plus an additional component) or Child Tax Credit has risen with ECO2. You can now have an income of £16,010 or less per year, an increase on the previous figure of £15,860.

Am I Eligible for ECO2?

The great news is that the updates made to ECO mean even more people might qualify for a boiler grant. It is important to note that the grant may not cover the entire cost of a boiler replacement and many recipients are asked to make a contribution towards their new boiler. We’ve outlined the criteria below.

How Do I Apply for the ECO Boiler Grant?

If you think that you fit the eligibility criteria check our Qualifying criteria section, or contact us and one of our friendly advisors will be able to give you a hand.

A growing number of families on low incomes, who are some of the UK’s most vulnerable households, don’t have the money to adequately heat their homes. The Government is attempting to address the issue with the Energy Company Obligation. Often shortened to just ECO, it’s a scheme that will help UK households lower their energy bills by becoming more energy efficient. We’ve put together some of the most important things to know when applying for a boiler grant with ECO.

1. Government boiler grants are funded by the big energy companies

As the name suggests, energy companies (who have in excess of 250,000 domestic customers) have a legal obligation to provide support and take part in ECO. It means energy providers including traditional suppliers like British Gas, EDF Energy and Scottish Power must provide funding to help families on low incomes who live in the country’s fuel poorest areas save money by heating and insulating their homes more efficiently.

2. ECO will run until March 2017

The scheme was originally only set to run until 2015 but due to its popularity this has been extended to 2017. Make sure to apply for a boiler grant using the form above before ECO closes its doors!

3. The Affordable Warmth Obligation has other grants too

Under the Affordable Warmth Obligation, which forms part of ECO, you might be eligible for a grant to help pay for home insulation, a boiler repair or, better still, a brand new Worcester, Vaillant, Baxi or Ideal A-rated energy efficient condensing boiler.

4. ECO replaced the Warm Front scheme

You may have heard of the Warm Front scheme which ended in January 2013. Not to worry if you didn’t have the opportunity to apply for it though as ECO offers very similar benefits to recipients.

5. You must be a homeowner or live in privately rented accommodation to qualify

If you do live in privately rented accommodation you will need to get permission from your landlord. Unfortunately you cannot claim the grant if you are living in a council property.

6. There are certain benefits you must be receiving to apply

In order to qualify for a government boiler grant you will need to be in receipt of specific benefits (and possibly meet additional criteria). You can find all of the details about this on our Qualifying criteria section.

7. You are most likely to benefit from ECO if your boiler is old, broken or inefficient

Your boiler must be at less than 86% efficiency for you to qualify for a replacement. This is far more likely with boilers which are older and to qualify with Boiler Grants yours must be 8 years old or more.

8. You might be asked to make a contribution

It is likely that you will be asked to contribute towards your new boiler, although in some cases the cost may be covered in full by the grant. This amount will be a lot less than what you would pay for a new boiler without an ECO grant and you could see energy savings of up to £300 a year.

9. Applying for a grant is actually very easy!

All you need to do is put in your postcode to start the application and answer a few questions to see if you meet the qualifying criteria. One of our friendly team will then get in touch at a convenient time to confirm the details, talk you through the process and answer any questions you might have. A qualified surveyor will then visit your home to double check everything is in order and approve your grant. A Gas Safe registered installer can then put in your new boiler and you can begin saving on energy bills!

 

Qualifying criteria

As long as you own your own home or you are a tenant living in privately rented accommodation (and you have your landlord’s permission) you might be eligible for a boiler grant to replace your old boiler.

But you must be in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (with an income of £16,010 or less)
  • Working Tax Credit (with an income of £16,010 or less)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Income-Related Employment Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of £1,250 or less in any assessment period in the last 12 months.

If you receive Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance or Income-Related Employment Support Allowance one extra condition must also apply from the following.

  • You have a child under 16 living at the property
  • You have a child under 20 in full-time education (not university) living at the property
  • You get Child Tax Credit including a disability element
  • You get a Disabled Child Premium
  • You get a Disability Premium
  • You have a Pensioner Premium
  • You have a Work Related Activity or Support Component (With Income-Related Employment Support Allowance)

If you are in receipt of Working Tax Credit one of the following must also apply:

  • You are 60 years of age or over
  • You have a child under 16 living at the property
  • You have a child under 20 in full-time education (not university) living at the property
  • You have a Severe Disability Element
  • You have a Disabled Worker Element

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit with a monthly earned income of £1,250 or less in any assessment period in the last 12 months. One of the following must also apply:

  • You have a child under 16 living at the property
  • You have a child under 20 in full-time education (not university) living at the property
  • You have limited capability for work and/or work-related activity
  • You get a disability living allowance (DLA)
  • You get a Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

When you apply for a boiler grant we will need to give you a quick call to confirm that you meet all the necessary criteria. It will only take a few moments to assess your eligibility. We’ll need to check what benefits you receive (in the case of Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit we’ll need to make a note of your annual household income too) and confirm your status (whether you’re a private tenant or own your own home). We will also ask you for the make and model of your current boiler, how old it is and whereabouts it’s located. If you can have all of this information to hand when we ring we’ll be able to get your application processed a lot quicker. Apply online above.

 

The history

Obligation periods

The new obligation period, known as ECO2, launched on 1 April 2015. It will run for the next two years to 31 March 2017. It extends the original lifetime of the scheme which ended on 31 March 2015.

ECO targets

Suppliers are allocated a proportion of the overall ECO targets, depending on their relative share of the domestic gas and electricity market. Suppliers achieve their obligations by delivering energy efficiency measures at domestic premises. ECO has three obligations:

  1. Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation

Under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation, obligated suppliers must promote ‘primary measures’,

 

including roof and wall insulation and connections to district heating systems. Other ‘secondary measures’, which improve the insulating properties of a premises can also be installed at the same premises as primary measures.

  1. Carbon Saving Community Obligation

Under the Carbon Saving Community Obligation, obligated suppliers must promote insulation measures and connections to district heating systems in areas of low income. The CSCO target has a sub-obligation, which requires that at least 15% of a supplier’s CSCO must be achieved by promoting measures to low income and vulnerable households in rural areas or deprived rural areas.

  1. Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation

Under the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation, obligated suppliers must promote measures which improve the ability of low income and vulnerable households (the ‘affordable warmth group’) to heat their homes. This includes actions that result in heating savings, such as the replacement or repair of a boiler.

Before ECO

ECO replaces two previous schemes, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP). You can find out more about them in our section on previous energy efficiency schemes here.

To find out more, you can visit here or contact us direct.