The Government ECO programme is a five-year programme requiring energy suppliers to help home-owners make their homes more energy efficient. The programme replaced two schemes, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), and the Government has recently extended the ECO scheme to March 2017. The ECO programme is officially known as the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). It obligates energy suppliers to make their customer’s homes more energy efficient, and in turn, more environmentally-friendly.
Under the scheme, larger energy suppliers must promote what are called ‘primary measures’. Primary measures include connections to district heating systems in areas of low income, and cavity wall insulation. In addition to this, energy suppliers must promote ways to improve the heating in their customer’s homes. This includes the supply and installation of new boilers.
What this means, is that customers can get energy saving improvements for their home for free. Yes – for free! However, there is a catch – to be able to take advantage of the Government’s ECO Programme, you must meet certain criteria. For example, you must own or rent the property you live in privately, and you must also claim benefits of some kind.
The full list of benefits are as follows:
– Child Tax Credit (strangely, your child must also be disabled);
– Pension Credit
– Working Tax Credit
– Income Support
– Jobseeker’s Allowance
– Employment and Support Allowance
– Universal credit
In addition to this, there are other criteria. For instance, depending on the benefits you receive from the list above, you must also receive another benefit. For up to date information about ECO Scheme eligibility, visit this page on the Government website. It’s important for us to point out that unless you receive benefits of some kind, the ECO Scheme is not for you.
However, there is another scheme called the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which is available to everyone. Under this scheme, you could get money towards renewable heating in your home, such as the installation of biomass boilers, solar water heating and certain heat pumps. You can apply for this scheme in England, Wales and Scotland, and the only snag is that you can’t apply for new build homes, unless you are building your own. So if you live in an older property, then the RHI scheme may be of some interest to you.
If you need further help regarding the latest Government programmes and schemes, then you can call the Government-backed Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234. This phone number is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm.