The Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
ECO is a government energy efficiency scheme designed to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. Funding is provided via energy companies to subsidise energy efficiency measures in domestic households. The government is currently analysing the industry’s feedback provided during a recent consultation period, to determine how the next phase of this funding – ‘ECO3’ – will be spent.
It is proposed that ECO3 will run from October 2018 to March 2022 and will focus exclusively on households on qualifying benefits – around 6.5 million households. An average of £640m will be spent per year.
In addition, households not on qualifying benefits but deemed deserving of support by their local authority can receive funding under the ‘flexible eligibility’ rule. Local authorities will have the discretion to declare certain households eligible if they are in fuel poverty OR on a low income and vulnerable to the cold – it is proposed that up to 25% of ECO funding will be spent this way (currently, it is 10%).
It is also proposed that funding is ring-fenced funding for solid wall insulation – a minimum of 17,000 properties per year will be supported by ECO3.
There remains some limited funding for heating, including for private households with broken boilers (capped at 35,000 per year), or inefficient boilers where an insulation measure is also installed. Funding is also available for first-time central heating (including replacement of storage heating) in private and social housing.
Finally, a new quality mark called ‘Each Home Counts’ will be phased in over ECO3 – more on this in our next newsletter issue.
The Warm Homes Fund
Separately, Warm Homes funding is available to fund heating measures in off-gas households from some local authorities and housing associations – click here for the full list. If your local authority or housing association is on the list and you think you might be eligible for the funding, you should contact them directly.
A further round of bidding for the Warm Homes Fund is currently open for submissions until 28th September 2018 – Cornerstone would be pleased to assist any local authorities or housing associations considering bidding for this fund.