Energy Company Obligation ECO

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) is a UK energy efficiency programme which was introduced at the start of 2013

The ECO places legal obligations on the larger energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency measures to domestic energy users. The ECO is the successor to the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

The ECO operates alongside the Green Deal which is designed to help people make energy efficiency improvements to buildings by allowing them to pay the costs through their energy bills rather than upfront.

The ECO provides additional support in the domestic sector, with a focus on vulnerable consumer groups and hard-to-treat homes. Under this scheme the big energy suppliers are legally obliged to help the following with energy-efficiency measures:

  • Low income/vulnerable households
  • Homes that may not benefit from savings from the Green Deal
  • Homes in low income areas

As part of ECO, the government estimates that £1.3 billion per year worth of energy efficiency and heating measures will be delivered across Great Britain.

Who can benefit from the Energy Companies Obligation?

Under the ECO rules, energy suppliers are obliged to help improve the energy efficiency of their domestic customers' buildings in three distinct areas:

  1. Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation
    Energy companies must concentrate efforts on hard-to-treat homes and measures that cannot be fully funded through the Green Deal. Solid wall insulation and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation are the primary areas for focus under this target.

  2. Carbon Saving Community Obligation
    Energy companies must focus on the provision of insulation measures and connections to domestic district heating systems supplying areas of low income. This target has a sub-target, which states that at least 15 per cent of each supplier's Carbon Saving Community Obligation must be achieved by promoting measures to low income and vulnerable households living in rural areas.

  3. Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation
    Energy companies are required to provide measures which improve the ability of low income and vulnerable households (the 'Affordable Warmth Group') to heat their homes. This includes actions that result in heating savings, such as the replacement or repair of a boiler for example.

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