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, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) and 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, and reforms announced in 2017 plan to simplify the eligibility criteria for Affordable Warmth and target it more towards households 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.
Besides the Big Six energy firms, Extra Energy, First Utility, Ovo, The Co-operative Energy, The Utility Warehouse and Utilita, have enough customers that they are now also obliged to participate in ECO.
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.
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.