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What is ECO (Energy Company Obligation)?

ECO

What’s in this guide?

Introduction

Under the energy eco scheme or ECO for short, households across the UK could get free home improvements from their energy supplier.

If you don’t qualify for free improvements, then you could still get a grant towards your goals.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the ECO scheme, including what it is, what you could get under it and how to find out if you qualify.

Let’s take a closer look and find out more.

What is the ECO scheme?

Launched in 2013 and running until 2018, the ECO scheme intends to help those who are most vulnerable save on their energy bills.

The ECO scheme is a government initiative that requires all energy suppliers that have over 250,000 domestic customers to help those at risk for fuel poverty.

Including British Gas, EDF, Scottish Power and more.

They can do this by offering free services that help customers save on energy bills.

This usually includes things like lost insulation, gas boiler replacements, loft insulation and solid wall insulation.

The government estimates that energy efficiency and heating measures worth £450m a year will be delivered across Great Britain.

Which energy suppliers offer the ECO scheme?

  • British Gas
  • E.ON Energy
  • Npower
  • EDF Energy
  • SSE
  • Scottish Power
  • First Utility
  • Co-operative Energy
  • Utilita
  • OVO Energy
  • Utility Warehouse
  • Extra Energy
  • Economy Energy
  • Flow Energy
  • Spark Energy

What is the future of the ECO scheme?

Although the current ECO scheme is coming to an end in 2018, there will be another scheme available that goes by the same name.

This newer scheme focuses on those at risk for fuel poverty, which only makes up about 70% of the current recipients.

900,000 is the number of energy-saving improvements the new scheme is planned to deliver.

This new scheme will run until approximately 2022 and aims to create almost 1 million improvements in those four years.

What is available under the ECO scheme?

  • Solid wall insulation
  • External wall insulation
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Flat roof insulation
  • Room in room insulation
  • Underfloor insulation
  • Hot water cylinder insulation
  • Draft proofing
  • Window glazing upgrades
  • High-performance external doors
  • Boilers
  • Electric storage heating replacement or repair
  • Heating controls
  • District heating system new connections, updates, and heat meters
  • Air or ground source heat pumps, biomass, and solar

Do I qualify?

To qualify for the ECO scheme, it does depend on a few different factors.

  1. Where you live
  2. What improvements your home needs
  3. The level of costs you would save
  4. If you receive any benefits

If you are a social housing tenant, you should also be eligible for assistance with your gas boiler or heating system.

Your energy supplier should inform you if you are eligible for any assistance, so you may want to contact them directly for information.

You must own your own home or have the permission of your landlord.

Even if you are eligible, an energy supplier doesn’t have to install an energy-efficient measure in your home.

How can I save money on my bills?

If you’re looking at grants or free energy efficiency schemes, there are some other ways you can save some money.

Even if it’s saving a few pennies, they can add up and end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.

Insulation.

The single best way to save money on your energy is to have a well-insulated house, which means you spend less to heat your home.

It doesn’t have to cost the earth either, as draught proofing for example means buying inexpensive materials, then you can start improving areas around your doors and windows yourself with little online research.

Turn your thermostat down.

Did you know turning your thermostat down by even 1 degree could save you up to £60 a year?

Yes, really.

Utilise clothing.

Wearing more jumpers to avoid the temptation of turning on your heating can help you save money on your energy bills.

But, you should still use your heating when necessary otherwise it could affect your health and your pipes could freeze.

Turn your shower pressure down.

If you have a powerful shower, this can be a fantastic luxury. But, it could be costing you a lot and turning it down could save you some money.

Pre-cook meals.

You could utilise all of the energy you’re using with your oven being on and pre-cook some meals for the week while cooking your dinner.

Use the right part of your hob.

If you’re heating/cooking a small meal, you might want to use a small pan with the smallest ring on your hob.

This is because using a large ring, and therefore too much energy, might be costing you.

Heat your home with cooking.

Once you have finished cooking lunch or perhaps your dinner, open your oven and let the heat warm your home.

Unplug regularly.

Did you know that some gadgets and appliances still use energy when they aren’t even turned on?

Unplugging your devices such as your TV, phone chargers and computer could give you some significant savings.

Get free cavity wall insulation.

Free cavity insulation from various grants or schemes available could save you up to £98 a year!

Conclusion

Finally, you can then use a tool such as the EnergySeek comparison tool to compare tariffs and energy suppliers to see which would be best for you, and become an energy shopper.

Did you know that you could be saving up to £500 on your energy bills every year?

Take a look at the EnergySeek guides to find out more about your energy, or see reviews of the top 7 energy switching sites to compare gas & electricity.