The funding that is behind the boiler grants in the UK is set to change later this year as the Government’s ECO scheme will be changing again after the current ECO period comes to an end.
What is ECO?
ECO is the Energy Company Obligation scheme that the Government created to deliver home energy efficiency by placing an obligation on the UK’s larger energy suppliers, such as EDF and British Gas. It is designed to help reduce the energy consumption and the bills of UK homes through providing grants for boilers and insulation.
The Government has targets that it needs to reach to reduce the amount carbon emissions that the country produces, and ECO is one way of meeting this challenging target and through getting the energy companies to pay for it.
Ofgem, the energy regulatory body, oversees the ECO scheme on behalf of the Government and they set the eligibility criteria for it. So, everyone offering ECO grants has the same eligibility criteria. However, in October the ECO scheme will be changing.
What is changing with ECO and free boiler scheme 2018?
The current ECO scheme will change in October and so will eligibility criteria, but the exact details of these changes have not yet been confirmed.
The recent consultation for ECO3 has outlined proposals and asked for feedback from all interested parties. If the consultation criteria were enforced, then the criteria for boiler replacements would be much stricter with a much smaller target audience. There will little or no funding for boiler repairs and boiler replacements would no longer include oil boilers.
The proportion of the energy suppliers’ obligation that can be met through boiler replacements is also going be reduced which means potential fewer boilers will be installed as part of ECO3.
Due to some of the opposition to some of these changes not all these amendments to the scheme may be put in place. The final criteria for ECO3 will be released later this year.
Who is eligible for an ECO grant?
ECO scheme eligibility is set by Ofgem and the Government. Many may think that these schemes only offer free boilers for pensioners but this is not the case. Grants are only available to those who own their own home or rent privately. The ECO funding for boilers is also restricted to low-income households and particularly those that are in receipt of certain qualifying benefits.
The property’s existing boiler must be over 5 years old as this will determine how efficient the boiler is as older boilers tend to be less efficient and therefore cost more to run. Currently, ECO grants are available for gas, LPG and oil boilers as well as electric storage heaters.
Should households act now?
Households that meet the current eligibility criteria for ECO should act now in case the amended ECO3 scheme precludes them from accessing the ECO grants.
Households do not need to apply to the energy suppliers directly. There are many companies covering the schemes and you may have already seen advertisement for EDF boiler grants and the EDF boiler scheme. If you don’t know whether you are eligible for a free boiler through an ECO funded grant you should use our free boiler grant checker to check your eligibility and find an ECO funded installer.