The Energy Companies Obligation, or ECO is a replacement for the energy companies Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) which ended in 2012.
CERT predominantly provided grants for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation whilst ECO provides funding under the Affordable Warmth Obligation for insulation and heating system upgrades for homeowners on certain benefits. The Affordable Warmth scheme is widely seen as a replacement for the Warmfront scheme.
The Energy Companies Obligation was introduced to help reduce energy consumption in Britain’s homes and to help householders who are living in fuel poverty. It does this by providing funding for the installation of energy efficient home improvements in private properties and it is estimated that around £1.3 billion will be made available each year to 31st March 2017.
Affordable Warmth Scheme funding is provided by the six major energy companies and is paid directly to the accredited installation companies once they have completed the work. The Green Deal Initiative and the Energy Companies Obligation are part of the Government’s overall strategy on dealing with Climate Change. Although funding from the Green Deal Finance Company ended in July 2015.
Affordable Warmth Scheme rules changed on the 1st April 2017 which has resulted in a simplification of the qualifying criteria. The Government has indicated that this new transitional phase of the ECO Scheme will run for 18 months to the end of September 2018. This will give time to consult on the design of a longer scheme intended to run for a further 4 years to 2022.