Energy Company Obligation (ECO)

What is ECO?

The ECO is a government lead obligation, which requires energy suppliers to reduce carbon emissions and fuel bills from domestic premises. Suppliers meet this obligation by installing measures in homes that reduce energy consumption – typically, these are insulation measures and replacement boilers.

The previous ECO period ran from Jan 2013 to March 2017. The new ECO period began on 1st April 2017 and runs until 31st March 2022. Suppliers have to meet pre-determined targets or will be fined by the regulator Ofgem.

The new obligation has a focus on reducing bills for the fuel poor. As well as having pre-determined eligibility criteria for this (set by the regulator Ofgem); Local Authorities are now able to set their own criteria in order to determine and tailor household eligibility to local need – called ‘flexible’ eligibility. Guidance has  been provided by government as to the key determining factors to be used – these are household income, energy costs, and health conditions within the household. Local authorities must publish their methodology for this – termed ‘Statement of Intent’ (SoI) and it must be signed by a Director.

 Plymouth's Statement of Intent (SoI) [PDF, 246KB]

Statement of Intent

The SoI allows LA’s to set their own eligibility criteria in order to respond to local need. The national pre-determined eligibility criteria, as set by government, is very rigid and uses set benefit types with income thresholds. Unfortunately, this approach excludes many people who are still in fuel poverty.

Following government guidance, our SoI aims to target two specific audiences: fuel poor households who do not qualify via the pre determined criteria, and households on a low income who are vulnerable to the cold (LIVC).

We will assess fuel poverty by using a widely accepted fuel poverty calculator tool to determine if someone is eligible for ECO funding, this takes into account energy costs and household income.

We will assess (LIVC) households using income and IMD statistics, as well as a severity of health condition matrix - as agreed with Public Health.

The above principals have been formed out of discussions with government and energy suppliers. We have also discussed these ideas with other neighbouring Local Authorities, such as Cornwall and Devon districts, and there is a general consensus of approach.

For more information on ECO and any energy efficiency programmes that might be running in the city read the information on the Plymouth Energy Community website.