The Green Deal came about in 2013, in an attempt to foster the desire to create solutions for energy efficiency in homes throughout the UK. It was designed to provide the opportunity for domestic customers to pay for energy efficiency upgrades without suffering undue financial hardship. The programme works by ensuring that upgrades are cost-limited to only the amount that would be saved by upgrading during the first year. It allows individuals to pay for these upgrades through their energy bills, reducing the stress and sudden costs that can be associated with assessments and upgrades.
While it certainly has a lot to offer people who fall within very specific guidelines, many low income domestic customers have still found it difficult to justify paying for assessment fees, services, and energy efficient home upgrades. The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme can help here, while additionally helping to put in place requirements that ensure that even the lowest income individuals have access to heating and other energy services.
What the ECO Provides
The ECO offerings fall under three main categories. The first, the Affordable Warmth Obligation, is an obligation to provide heating and insulation upgrades to vulnerable or at-risk households. Replacing a boiler or adding further insulation to help retain heat are both provided for under this scheme. Because low income households are the most needy when it comes to affordable heating, this is an important item. While most, if not all, low income domestic customers will be eligible for this, those who currently live in social housing are excluded because of their unique situation.
The second programme that falls under this scheme is the Carbon Saving Community Obligation programme. It focuses on providing insulation measures to help domestic houses better retain heat and cooling. This helps to provide low incomes with better efficiency and budgeting power for energy.
The third programme that is covered under the ECO is the simple Carbon Saving Obligation. This portion of the programme provides assistance with solid wall and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation. Both of these can greatly impact efficiency levels.
Qualifying for the Programs
The ECO scheme provides heating, efficiency, and insulation improvements to the very individuals and families who need it most. The scheme follows intensely rigid guidelines, and you should fully understand these guidelines before assuming that you will be eligible for assistance. Npower has an ECO eligibility checker available to help you determine if you fall under it. You can also contact the Energy Saving Trust directly with questions; find their contact information here.
How the Green Deal and ECO Work Together to Benefit You
The Green Deal programme and the ECO programme work together quite effectively. Each of the providers that are listed as Green Deal registered providers can also offer services under the ECO programme. Additionally, the ECO programme provides back up when domestic customers fail to qualify for the Green Deal loan or programme itself. This helps to ensure that all customers have access to assistance with efficiency upgrades, heating and insulation, and more.
The ECO programme can also help to provide financial funding to cover the assessment fee that is demanded for those applying to the Green Deal programme. The npower website states that the “assessment fee is around £120”; for low income domestic customers, this is a large amount of money to pay out all at once. Until the creation of the ECO, it was difficult for this subsection of customers to access the Green Deal. We encourage you to contact the Energy Saving Trustregarding funding for this fee through the ECO if this applies to you.