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Published On: Thu, Sep 4th, 2014

Government initiative called ECO (the Energy Companies Obligation)

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) has been in the news a lot lately, so you have probably heard about it at some point. However, if you don’t know the full details of the scheme then you might like to take a few minutes to see how it could benefit you.

Overview

photo Ulfbastel

photo Ulfbastel

The ECO started up at the beginning of 2013. It covers domestic energy use in the UK and was designed to replace the schemes known as the Community Energy Saving Programme and the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target. It is separate from the Green Deal scheme and works alongside the incentives offered under the Green Deal. While it covers the entire UK domestic energy market, it has a special emphasis on especially vulnerable groups of people and those who have homes that are more difficult to make energy efficient. So far it has proved to be a big success and already a good number of people across the UK have got a more energy efficient home thanks to the scheme.

Aims

The idea behind the“ECO”Government initiative,is that the biggest energy suppliers in the county are legally obliged to help homeowners spend less on their energy bills. This works by ensuring that they offer their domestic users a few different ways to make their homes more energy efficient and their energy bills lower. Basically, there are three different areas covered by the ECO, and these are as follows:

  1. Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation

The first one is called the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation. Under this part of the scheme, the UK’s largest energy suppliers need to work hard to help consumers who live in homes that are hard to upgrade. It also covers the energy efficient measures that the Green Deal doesn’t cover fully. The main elements in this case are around insulation measures, such as cavity wall and solid wall insulation. Another point worth mentioning is the way in which this obligation deals with connections to district heating systems.

  1. Carbon Saving Community Obligation

The Community Obligation is designed so that energy companies across the country need to help increase the number of well insulated properties in low income areas of the country. It also deals with those vulnerable households who live in rural areas. In this case, connections to district heating systems are also part of the obligation.

  1. Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation

Another vital part of the overall ECO is the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation. This section is the one which obliges our nation’s biggest energy supply companies to help low income and vulnerable users to keep their homes warm. A good example of how this can work comes with the case of a consumer who has an old boiler that either needs to be repaired or replaced. This can make a huge difference to the ease with which the person can then keep their home lovely and warm at a decent cost.

The Eligibility

Before considering the grants that are offered under this scheme, it is a good idea to first of all look at the eligibility criteria. First of all, you need to own your own home or rent it privately. If it is rented then obviously the landlord’s permission is needed to get any work done. As well as this, you need to receive a benefit such as Child Tax Credit (and have income of £15,860 or lower), Pension Credit, Working Tax Credit (and have income of £15,860 or lower, as well as meet certain additional criteria), Income Support (and meet extra criteria), Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance (and meet extra criteria) or Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (and meet extra criteria). As we can see, some of the categories require additional criteria but the application process is quick and simple. A good idea is to check out the Npower website for full details of whether you can apply. The site has a quick and easy eligibility checker on it to get you started.

The Grants Offered

Anyone who meets the above eligibility could qualify under the ECO scheme to receive the full or partial cost of certain energy efficiency improvements to their home. This includes loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, boiler repair and boiler replacement.

Guest Author: Lolita Di

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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- The generic Dispatch designation, used primarily for press releases or syndicated content, but may be used for guest author requesting a generic nomenclature

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