energy company obligation scheme

What is the Energy Company Obligation Scheme?

What Is The Energy Company Obligation Scheme or ECO Scheme?

You may have heard of the Energy Company Obligation Scheme or the ECO Scheme at some point over the last five years.  It’s an initiative by the UK Government that is designed to help improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock while helping families on a low income to get out of fuel poverty.   While the Energy Company Obligation Scheme has been around for quite a while now, the eligibility criteria has recently changed and those who weren’t eligible at the beginning of the scheme could well qualify now.  So, it’s important to know more about the ECO Scheme and what it means.  You can read it in more detail on the official OFGEM website by clicking here.

Working With Big Name Energy Suppliers

energy company obligation scheme

The Energy Company Obligation Scheme works in conjunction with the big name electricity and gas suppliers in the UK who have over 250,000 domestic customers using their services.  A huge number of people in the UK have their energy supplied by one of these giant companies, and huge names like EDF, E.ON, British Gas, SSE, Scottish Power and Npower are all included. Under the government’s directive, these large energy suppliers have an obligation to assist households who need it most to improve the energy efficiency of their home.  Not only will this help to cut the nation’s carbon emissions as required by the EU, but it will also help families to have warmer homes at a price that they can afford.

What Are The Big Companies Obliged To Do?

As part of the Energy Company Obligation Scheme, the biggest energy suppliers in the UK are required to reduce fuel poverty and slash carbon emissions by offering energy efficiency measures to eligible households across England.  The estimation is that £450 million-worth of heating and energy efficiency measures will be delivered within a year across Britain.
Although the scheme was first launched back in 2013, in 2017 changes were made to the eligibility criteria to simplify them and to make more households eligible for the measures.  Now the Energy Company Obligation Scheme covers even more families and has a closer focus on households that have low incomes.

Which Suppliers are Offering the Energy Company Obligation Scheme?

Every obligated energy supplier is required to contribute a certain amount towards energy efficient household improvements depending on their share of the market.  ECO support is available from any of the obligated suppliers and not just the supplier from whom you get your energy.  All of the biggest named energy firms provide ECO support to low income households as well as Co-operative Energy, Extra Energy, Economy Energy, Flow Energy, Ovo, First Utility, Utility Warehouse, Utilita and Spark Energy.

Which Energy Efficiency Measures are available through the Energy Company Obligation Scheme?

There are several different measures available through the ECO scheme including installation of wall and loft insulation as well as boiler replacement or emergency boiler repair.  While the entire cost of the installation of these measures may not always be borne entirely by the energy companies.  In some cases households can benefit from a completely free installation or replacement without the need to pay back a penny.  In other cases, they will be required to make a contribution towards the cost.  The energy efficiency measures which are available under the scheme include:

  • Loft Insulation
  • Solid Wall Insulation
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Gas, LPG or oil boilers
  • In some cases, homes may be connected for free to a district heating system

Will I be Eligible for a Free Boiler under the Energy Company Obligation Scheme?

The Energy Company Obligation Scheme is designed to help households who are living in fuel poverty and the eligibility criteria is quite complex.  Even though the system has been simplified since 2017, it can still be difficult to determine whether you can benefit. The eligibility will depend on the improvements that your property requires, the area in which you live, whether you are receiving state benefits and the efficiency of your existing central heating system.  Although most people benefiting from the Energy Company Obligation Scheme are private tenants who have permission from their landlords or homeowners, some social housing tenants may also be able to benefit from certain elements of the scheme if they have a low energy efficiency home that is rated E, F or G.

Am I in Fuel Poverty?

energy company obligation scheme, fuel poverty

The definition of fuel poverty is as follows:

If, once you have paid your annual energy bill for your household, your income is lower than that deemed to be the poverty line, then you are living in fuel poverty.  Since fuel poverty has been linked to a number of social problems, including a lack of social mobility, poor educational attainment and a poor quality of life, it is imperative for as many families who fall into this category to check whether they are eligible for the Energy Company Obligation Scheme as soon as possible.  If you would like to check whether you’re eligible, or would like to apply online for a free boiler replacement, please click the link below:

Apply Online for a Free Boiler Grant

Will My Energy Supplier Tell Me If I Qualify?

Your energy supplier is supposed to let you know if you meet the eligibility criteria to receive a free boiler grant under the Energy Company Obligation Scheme, however it is always worth checking it out for yourself just in case.

What Benefits Does The Energy Company Obligation Scheme Offer?

Those who are eligible to benefit from an Energy Company Obligation Scheme grant can receive a number of energy efficiency measures, either completely free or at a heavily subsidised rate. Any new boiler fitted will be A rated for energy, so households can be confident that their boiler will greatly reduce their carbon footprint while also cutting their energy bills.  It has been demonstrated that you can cut your household bills by as much as £350 per year by running an energy efficient home, so it is well worth looking into.

How Does The Energy Company Obligation Scheme Work?

If you think you are eligible for the ECO Scheme, you will need to complete an application to ensure that you do qualify.  You can do so online by clicking the link below:

Apply Online for a Free Boiler Grant

Once you have applied, you will be asked questions about the benefits you’re in receipt of, your property, your existing boiler’s age and your own circumstances.  We will then check if your boiler make and model is below 85.9% efficiency required for this grant.  If it is, we will then and then you will get a definitive answer about whether or not you can make a claim.  If you want to check the eligibility criteria, please click here.

If you are eligible for the Energy Company Obligation Scheme, you will then be required to have a home energy assessment survey to determine what is required in your home to bring it in line with the recommended energy efficiency criteria.  The Gas Safe engineer will check the boiler, assess the energy efficiency of the property, look at any benefits paperwork and then tell you which energy measures you can benefit from.

Once you have reached this stage, you can then arrange to have your new boiler installed by a qualified professional Gas Safe boiler installer.  They will tell you what to expect from the installation and whether or not you will be expected to make any financial contribution to the fitting.  In many cases, the fitting is done free of charge, however if there are any complex changes which need to be made, such as adding more radiators or changing the boiler position, you may have to pay towards those additional changes.

Arranging a Boiler Fitting

energy company obligation scheme

If you have just discovered that you are eligible for the government’s Energy Company Obligation Scheme, you will need to find a reliable and trustworthy boiler fitter who can carry out the work to the required standards.  Without trying to blow our own trumpet, Boilerhut represents an outstanding choice, regardless of where you live in the UK.  As a nationwide network of qualified and highly trained central heating installers, Boilerhut has many years of experience in the industry and will always carry out boiler fittings to the best possible standards.  You can rest assured that we go above and beyond to ensure that everything goes smoothly, and since we are Gas Safe, OFTEC and PAS2030 approved, you can have complete peace of mind that your installation is in very safe hands.  What’s more, you can apply for a free boiler grant on our website, and also check if you qualify for ECO Scheme.

If you do not qualify for a free boiler grant under the Energy Company Obligation Scheme, but are in urgent need of a new boiler.  Or you’d like to be proactive and have a new central heating system or just a boiler installed before the next winter, you can get a free, no obligation quote on our website.  It literally takes a few minutes.  Simply enter your postcode below and hit the green button:


Please note: Our intelligent quoting system gives you a price estimate which may or may not be close to a final quote.  If you can send some photos of your existing boiler system to us, that will help us confirm prices and plan the installation better.

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