The Government has set some pretty ambitious targets as far as carbon reductions are concerned and also recognises that with fuel bills rising as rapidly as they are, those in the least energy efficient properties need assistance to help reduce their heating bills. As part of this commitment, they recently announced the ECO+ scheme which is due to start in Spring 2023 and run for three years. The Government says that this scheme will save eligible households around £310 per year on their heating bills, but what is the ECO+ scheme and who will be able to take advantage of it?
Current Government schemes
The Government is already supporting several energy efficiency schemes under their Help To Heat initiative. These schemes cover things like replacing boilers with low carbon alternatives, the Home Upgrade Grant for low income, low EPC rated households which are off the main gas grid, the social housing decarbonisation fund to help upgrade social housing and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme which supports energy companies make upgrades to properties where the occupants receive certain benefits and where the EPC rating is D or lower for private properties and E or lower for rented properties.
The thing is that these schemes, albeit very helpful are quite restricted in who can access the funding. In order to improve this situation, the Government will be rolling out the ECO+ scheme. This £1 billion scheme is in addition to the £6.6 Billion being spent on the Help to Heat schemes and is aimed at those living in energy inefficient properties and who live in properties in lower council tax bands, to insulate their properties. Although the eligibility criteria has not been set in stone and the scheme is still undergoing consultation the initial proposal is that eligibility will be for those who live in properties with an EPC rating of D or lower and who are in council tax bands A-D in England, A-E in Scotland and A-C in Wales. The scheme will also still cover those who are vulnerable and on low incomes in line with the current ECO4 scheme.
What measures are funded through ECO+?
• Cavity wall insulation
• Solid wall insulation (both external and internal)
• Loft insulation
• Pitched roof insulation
• Flat roof insulation
• Under floor insulation
• Solid floor insulation
• Park home insulation
• Room-in-roof insulation
How to Apply for ECO+ Support
At the moment, ECO+ has not been implemented so there is no application process. It is likely, though, that applications will, as for the ECO4 scheme, be done directly through the energy providers. As the scheme is a grant, no money will need to be re-paid to either the Government or the energy providers.
The ECO+ scheme will not be accessible for everyone, but it is designed to allow access to those who need upgrades to their property who are not eligible under any other current Government scheme. Any improvement to insulation in a property will have an immediate and positive impact on heating bills which, in the current climate can only be a good thing.