The Governments ‘new’ Energy Efficiency Scheme – Who’s Eligible and What Does it Cover?
The Energy Secretary Grant Shapps announced new grants for energy efficiency measures to be installed in homes in late November 2022. The ECO4 scheme is to become the ECO+ scheme from April 2023.
Although this is widely reported as not providing any additional funding, it widens to scope to cover more households.
From April 2023 any household in council tax band A-D in England, with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of D and below, will be eligible for funding of up to £15,000, although the average is expected to be £1,500.
This article gives you a summary of how it works and how you could use this to improve your home with most information drawn from the current consultation. Do note that the current scheme may change – we will update this article when that happens.
Anyone in an average size house in an inexpensive area will be eligible for the scheme.
ECO+ will continue to support low income households (income less than £31,000) in less energy inefficient properties (EPC D or less). The eligibility is usually established if a member of the household receives benefits (see below), and there is a preference to improve homes with E-G EPCs. This scheme will continue to provide a greater amount of funding, covering more expensive retrofit works, up to the full cost.
The ECO+ will include a larger group, covering homes in Council Tax bands A-D in England, A-E in Scotland and A-C in Wales, with an EPC of D and below. 75% of costs will be covered under this scheme obligating home owners to pay for some of the installation measures.
Landlords will also be eligible to apply for the scheme, using similar criteria as ablow for eligibility. Under ECO+ they will need to pay for less expensive energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall and loft insulation themselves, but will receive subsidy for other measures.
To see what council tax band you are search here using your postcode.
To see what energy performance certificate you have search here using your postcode.
Benefits that support claim for ‘low income households’: Child Benefit*, Child Tax Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – Income Based, Housing Benefit – new eligible benefit, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) – Income Based, Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, Pension Credit Savings Credit – new eligible benefit, Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit
Measures you can get funding for
The scheme uses a ‘fabric first’ approachm, focusing on improving the energy retention of the building through insulation. The scheme (for both low income and the general group) will cover:
- 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
In addition to this heating controls (e.g. such as thermostatic radiator valves) will also receive subsidy if these are installed after other measures have been installed (within 3 months).
How much can I claim?
The scheme is not transparent about this as measures are acknowledged to have variable costs according to the construction of a building, and it will be down to the energy supplier to accept the cost of the measures to be installed. If you are within the low income bracket receiving benefits, then up to 100% of the cost will be covered, if you are from the general group, then 75% of the cost will be covered.
This means that in installing a full package of installation measures costing circa £18,000, a low income household would have all measures paid for, and a household within low council tax band would have £13,500 of the measures subsidized. Whilst this would likely save 50% on energy bills in upgrading from a E to a B energy efficiency, of a value of circa £1,500 a year.
The scheme outlines a certain cost per measure which are variable against different size properties. To give an indication of this costs are mentioned in the consultation document, which we summarize below.
|Measure||Upper expenditure||Price/unit of measure|
|Cavity wall insulation||£1,390||£6/m2|
|Sold wall insulation||£15,000||£140/m2|
|Thermostatic radiator valves||£220||£30 per room|
The scheme is convoluted in its mechanism of reclaiming funding. The funding is claimed back through energy suppliers, by the installers of the measures. These get approved for the scheme and then the installers pass one invoice to the energy suppliers and one to the householder.
In short you approach the installers and then ask them to support you in claiming back the funding.
Making decisions about what you need
The easiest way to make a decision about what you need is to look at your energy performance certificate (search online here), and then follow its recommendations.
If you want to understand payback of measures or want to get other people’s experiences then ask our expert community.
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