Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
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Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) could help you get financial support from your supplier to make your home more energy efficient.
The ECO scheme means that gas and electricity suppliers with more than 250,000 household customers - including British Gas, EDF Energy, Eon, Npower, SSE and Scottish Power - are obliged to help households with energy efficiency measures.
These measures will save households money on their energy bills, help keep homes warmer, and help to reduce carbon emissions.
What is the Energy Company Obligation?
ECO is the government's umbrella term for its programme to make houses in the UK more energy efficient. It covers the Affordable Warmth Obligation and the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO). Until April 2017, it also included the Carbon Savings Community Obligation (CSCO). The scheme replaced the Carbon Emission Reduction Target (Cert) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) that ended in December 2012.
As part of ECO, the government estimates that £1.3bn per year worth of energy efficiency and heating measures will be delivered across Great Britain. The scheme is planned to run until September 2018.
Reforms to the Eco scheme from April 2017 simplified the eligibility criteria for Affordable Warmth. It now covers more households and is targeted more towards those with low incomes.
Which energy suppliers offer ECO?
Each obligated supplier has to contribute to a certain amount of energy-efficient home improvements, based on its market share. You can find ECO support from any obligated supplier, not just the company you buy your energy from.
You can find ECO support from any obligated supplier, not just the company you buy energy from.
The Big Six energy firms all provide Eco support. The following energy suppliers also have enough customers, so are obliged to participate in Eco: Economy Energy, Extra Energy, First Utility, Ovo, The Co-operative Energy, The Utility Warehouse and Utilita.
Energy-efficient measures available through ECO include loft insulation, wall insulation and replacement boilers. Find out more about insulation and how it can improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Free insulation and other ECO energy efficiency improvements
Under ECO, grants are available to cover all or part of the cost of energy-efficiency measures; most commonly loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation, double glazing or a new boiler.
Installation of loft insulation and cavity wall insulation is usually done by a contractor. For loft insulation, you'll probably have to clear your loft first and take up any boards, as this is not normally included (but there are exceptions).
It's quite complicated to work out if you're eligible for ECO funding - it depends on what improvements your home needs, where you live, the level of carbon or cost savings made and if you receive any benefits.
Your energy supplier should advise you if you're eligible for an ECO grant.
From April 2017, you may also be eligible for help with insulation or installing a heating system if you are a social housing tenant in a home with an energy efficiency rating of E, F or G. You can find this on your home’s energy performance certificate (EPC), or by asking your landlord or housing association.
Your energy supplier should advise you if you're eligible for an ECO grant. You can also contact the Energy Saving Trust for more details. Between 2013 and 2016, around 1.6 million homes had energy efficiency measures installed as part of ECO, according to the government.
Save money on your energy bills
Make sure you're on the cheapest tariff possible. If you're on a standard tariff with one of the Big Six energy companies - and most people are - you can save hundreds of pounds by switching to a better deal.
Use our independent switching site, Which? Switch, to check you're on the cheapest energy deal.