As part of the ECO or Energy Company Obligation, larger energy suppliers in the United Kingdom are ‘obligated’ to deliver measures to promote and improve energy efficiency in British homes. You don’t need to get your energy from one of these obligated suppliers. You can buy your energy from any company and still be eligible for help under the ECO scheme.
If you own your own home or have permission from your landlord or social housing provider, and someone in your household claims Disability Living Allowance, then you could be entitled to help with home insulation or a new or replacement boiler. This forms part of what is known as the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) or The Affordable Warmth Obligation.
This part of the ECO scheme is primarily aimed at supporting private householders where an occupant receives certain State Benefits to make where they live more energy efficient. Measures could include:
Installing insulation, such as solid wall insulation, cavity wall insulation or loft insulation.
Replacing faulty, inefficient or outdated central heating boilers by fitting new boilers offering much more energy efficiency.
The scheme is administered by Ofgem and more information is available on its website. Other sources of information and advice on home heating and central heating grants include the Energy Saving Advice Service, Home Energy Scotland, the Nest home heat programme in Wales and the Citizens Advice helpline.
Getting help to upgrade the energy efficiency of your home may seem too good to be true but there are no catches, although there are also no guarantees that you will get the work done.
If you do receive Disability Living Allowance, satisfy other criteria and are accepted by what is known as an obligated supplier, then there are no hidden downsides. The work will be carried out thanks to a wider government commitment to reduce fuel poverty and lower the number of carbon emissions produced.
Your home may seem like a small part of such a grand plan but every household in Britain has its part to play in the long-term aims of protecting the planet and ensuring that everyone can enjoy living in the warm homes they deserve without having to pay more than is necessary for the privilege.
The Energy Company Obligation or ECO is a government energy efficiency scheme that was originally started in April 2013. Today, it exists in an updated form and comes under the banner of the Department for Energy, Business & Industrial Strategy.
The scheme requires that larger energy suppliers pay for energy efficiency improvements in British homes and these suppliers have a target to meet. This is based on how much of the domestic energy market they occupy in Britain.
These obligated suppliers operate in collaboration with installers with the result of introducing more efficiency measures in eligible urban and rural households.
What type of boiler can qualify for a free ECO central heating grant?
As well as the applicant, the boiler that requires replacing must qualify as well, for a home to receive a free central heating grant via the ECO scheme.
In order to answer the established criteria, the boiler that needs replacing must be operating with an efficiency level no greater than 86 percent of its top capacity. Boilers that are operating with this standard of efficiency are typically rated from C to G, with the most efficient boiler carrying an A rating. Boilers that are around five years old or more are commonly found in this category and will meet the set criteria.
If boilers are confirmed to be damaged beyond viable repair expenses, they are also eligible for a grant as well as those with faults in functionality. Common faults in older models of boiler that could see them qualify include constantly requiring repressurising, pilot lights that won’t stay lit, models that leak water and produce considerable noise or those that are not able to provide basic central heating and hot water.
Even if a boiler has none of these issues, if it is C rated or lower for efficiency or is five years or older, it should be eligible to be replaced for free.