ECO is short for ‘Energy Company Obligation’ which was set up by the government to combat fuel poverty. The scheme forces the 6 largest energy companies in the UK, British Gas, Npower, Scottish & Southern Energy, EDF Energy, Scottish Power and EON fund ECO initiatives to help those most in need of energy saving measures reduce their energy bills.
Eligibility criteria includes those receiving Pension Credits, Child/Working Tax Credits, Income Support/Employment Support Allowance or JSA, anyone receiving extra benefits to help people on a low income or no income at all, homes with a broken or faulty condensing boiler installed, plus applicants must be a home owner or private tenant.
Anyone who wishes to apply for a boiler grant will need to provide the details of the boiler, such as the make, model and the approximate age of the appliance, along with some proof of your tax credit or income related benefits to check your eligibility for the scheme. A new boiler is also less likely to break down or require as much maintenance, giving peace of mind and costing less in repairs.
There are significant benefits for landlords to encourage tenants to apply for the grant and from April 2016, landlords are legally obliged to consider the requests from tenants to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat. Landlords are advised to take full advantage of the ECO grant now to save money on changes they will likely have to make in the future anyway. A new efficient boiler will contribute to raising the Energy Performance Certificate rating of the property and from April 2018, all landlords in England and Wales will be legally required to improve their properties to reach a rating of at least E – so this is a great opportunity to act now. In addition, having a new, modern boiler is an attractive prospect to future tenants and all of the boilers installed under ECO will be A-rated condensing models, which will greatly reduce the property’s CO2 emissions.
Once confirmed, a fully qualified surveyor will arrange to inspect the property and carry out the final checks before the grant can be processed. The replacement boiler installation is then carried out by a Gas Safe registered installer, who is also approved for the scheme.
After installation of the new condensing gas boiler, individuals and families will start saving money on their energy bills and help to heat their homes more efficiently. Savings are typically around £250 per year for an average home.
There is current a wealth of resource and information available on the web to provide advice and guidance on how to apply for the grant. However, some companies such as Boiler Grants Online offer a fully managed application service.