Six Ways to Qualify for ECO Grants in 2024

Six Ways You Can Be Eligible for ECO Insulation and Heating Grants in 2024

Have you heard about the latest ECO government grants worth £4 billion?

The ECO4 scheme exists to help households with the installation of insulation and heating systems and there are six ways you can be eligible for grants in 2024.

Here’s a simple breakdown of the scheme and eligibility criteria.

Overview

  • What is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO)?
  • What have the 100,708 ECO grants issued been for?
  • Six Ways to Qualify for ECO Funding
  • Property Requirements
  • How to check eligibility and apply
What is ECO?

What is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO)?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme.

ECO has two main objectives:

  • to help reduce carbon emissions and
  • to tackle fuel poverty.

Grants are available from energy suppliers for those who meet certain criteria, with the aim of making homes more energy efficient and thereby reducing energy bills. The scheme operates in Great Britain and obligates suppliers to offer energy saving grants to meet targets for carbon reduction; otherwise, these companies risk hefty government fines.

The fourth phase of the ECO scheme started in July 2022 and will run until March 2026, with a whopping £4 billion to be spent. If you own your home or are a private or housing association tenant, you could be eligible for a very generous ECO grant that will result in cost savings on your energy bill and free home upgrades.

As the householder, you take the first step in making the application, through an assessment of your eligibility in six possible ways. Additionally, your property will need to be eligible, such as having inefficient heating or lacking insulation, to reach a ‘full project score’ according to Ofgem’s latest rules.

Table: Who’s who in ECO?

About ECOInformationWho is responsible?
Who designed the scheme?The ECO scheme is a Government initiative and the ECO4 Order was agreed before Parliament in July 2022.UK Government
Who administers the scheme?The ECO scheme is administered by Ofgem (the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets).Ofgem
Who are the obligated energy suppliers?Larger energy suppliers such as British Gas, E.ON, EDF, Octopus Energy, OVO, So Energy etc. are obligated to pay for funding.Energy suppliers
Who can install ECO grants?Installers must be registered with Trustmark and they must have contracts with at least one of the obligated suppliers.Trustmark registered installers
What involvement do councils have?Councils do not fund or give any of the funding. Their only involvement is to sign Flex declarations where applications are being made through the ECO4 Flex Scheme.Signing declarations only
How can you apply for ECO grants?You can apply directly with an obligated supplier or a registered installer. You can also use the Energy Saving Genie grant checker as our 30+ installers have contracts with most of the obligated energy suppliers.Energy Saving Genie

What have the 100,708 ECO grants been for?

There are a range of heating and insulation grants available under the ECO scheme. It is up to the energy companies to determine which projects they choose to fund, the level of funding they provide for each measure and the energy companies can also choose what installers to work with (installers have to be Trustmark registered).

Ofgem reports that the fourth phase of ECO (ECO4) has already resulted in a total of 100,708 projects submitted so far.

How many heating grants have there been?

  • 63 Boiler Replacements – where there was a broken but efficient heating system
  • 13,194 Boiler Upgrades – where there was an efficient heating system upgraded to a renewable heating system
  • 37,164 Boiler Upgrades – where there was an inefficient heating system
  • 2,086 Electric Storage Heater Installations – were there was inefficient heating at the property
  • 7,911 Gas Central Heating Installations – where the property had never had gas central heating (with a gas connection in place prior to April 2022)
  • 6,222 First Time Central Heating to a Renewable Heating System – such as a heat pump
ECO Heating Installation Stats at 7 May 2024
ECO Heating Installation Stats at 7 May 2024

How many insulation grants have there been?

  • 17,394 Cavity walls have been insulated
  • 52,604 Lofts have been insulated
  • 7,935 Rooms in roof have been insulated
  • 30,538 Solid walls have been insulated
  • 1170 Underfloor insulation 
  • 2,691 Other insulation has been carried out
ECO Insulation Installation Stats at 7 May 2024
ECO Insulation Installation Stats at 7 May 2024

How many other grants have there been?

  • 460 Park homes have had insulation
  • 21,767 Solar PV installations (these would have been in electric or heat pump properties as ECO prohibits solar to be installed in gas properties)

Six Ways to Qualify for ECO Funding (updated to the latest rules):

  1. Eligibility through receiving benefits
  2. Eligibility through receiving Child Benefit
  3. Eligibility based on your income (ECO4 Flex)
  4. Eligibility based on being vulnerable (including having debts, being older or having young people in your family) (ECO4 Flex)
  5. Eligibility based on health reasons (ECO4 Flex)
  6. Eligibility based on where you live called “bespoke targeting”

1. Eligibility through receiving benefits

If you or anyone in your household receives any of the following means-tested benefits, you can apply immediately for an ECO grant. There are no income requirements for this route and the installer requests a data match to confirm eligibility as per the Ofgem guidance. Once the installer has a data match, they have 12 months to complete the installation regardless of whether you remain on the qualifying 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

To receive a grant, you will need to provide evidence that you (or someone living at the property) has received the benefit. Installers have to carry out a ‘data match’ to evidence eligibility. The data match is sent to the DWP via the Energy Saving Trust. They get either a ‘Matched’ or ‘Unmatched’ result.

Evidence required to prove eligibility through the benefits route:

  • Consent to a data match to be carried out by the Energy Saving Trust (the installer will arrange this)
  • Sometimes energy companies ask for benefit letters or evidence from online portals
  • Latest council tax bill
  • Proof you reside at the address. This would usually be a utility bill dated in the last 3 months.

2. Eligibility through receiving Child Benefit

If you receive Child Benefit but no other benefits listed above, you can still qualify for a grant to upgrade your home. However, you’ll need to meet additional income rules.To qualify for an ECO grant through the Child Benefit route, your household income must be less than the rates below (before tax – must not exceed the following maximum amounts):

A single adult with

– 1 child: £19,900

– 2 children: £24,800

– 3 children: £29,600

– 4 or more children: £34,500

Couples with

– 1 child: £27,500

– 2 children: £32,300

– 3 children: £37,200

– 4 or more children: £42,000

To receive a grant, you must provide evidence that you receive Child Benefit and you’ll also need to provide evidence of income (e.g. bank statements, pay slips or tax returns). You will need to complete a Child Benefit declaration to confirm that you qualify and this can be found on our website.

Evidence required to prove eligibility through the Child Benefit route:

  • Consent to a data match to be carried out by the Energy Saving Trust (the installer will arrange this)
  • Child Benefit letter or evidence from online portals
  • Child Benefit Declaration
  • Proof of income for all adults in the household
  • Bank statements for all adults in the household
  • Latest council tax bill
  • Proof you reside at the address. This would usually be a utility bill dated in the last 3 months.

3. Eligibility based on your income

If your total household income (before tax) is less than £31,000 per annum, you will be eligible for a grant. Unlike options 1 and 2 above, this route to eligibility is part of the ECO4 Flex Scheme. If you apply based on this income route, the installer will need to apply for a declaration from your council to approve the grant. Additionally, the installer will need evidence of your household income (e.g. bank statements, pay slips or tax returns) to apply for the grant on your behalf.

ECO4 Flex Scheme: Councils have to publish a Statement of Intent before applications can be submitted by installers through this route. Many councils have submitted their Statement of Intent but, unfortunately, other councils have not and that prevents some applicants from accessing these grants. Once the installer has submitted the ECO4 Flex application to the relevant council, the council will provide a declaration of eligibility.

Evidence required to prove eligibility through the income route:

  • Proof of income for all adults in the household
  • Bank statements for all adults in the household
  • Completed Flex statement (this is provided by the council signing the declaration)
  • Latest council tax bill
  • Proof you reside at the address. This would usually be a utility bill dated in the last 3 months.

4. Eligibility based on being vulnerable (including having debts, being older or having young people in your family)

If you, or anyone that lives you is considered vulnerable, you can still access funding.

You will need to meet two of the following conditions:

  • You receive Council Tax rebate (excluding single person rebates)
  • You live in an area that is considered a Lower Super Output Area
  • You receive free school meals due to a low income
  • You have been referred to your local authority for support by your energy supplier or Citizens Advice because you are struggling to pay your energy bills (local authorities will need to refer you)
  • You have had energy debts for more than 13 weeks and are either in a debt repayment plan with your energy supplier or you are repaying your debt through 3rd party deductions (not eligible if you have a pre-payment meter)
  • You have a pre-payment meter that has been either self-disconnected, or you have received supplier Discretionary / Friendly credit in the last 13 weeks, or a debt repayment plan with their energy supplier, or you are repaying your fuel debt through 3rd party deductions
  • You are vulnerable to living in a cold home under NICE Guidelines which include:

– people with cardiovascular conditions

– people with respiratory conditions (in particular, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and childhood asthma)

– people with disabilities

– people with mental health conditions

– older people (65 and older)

– households with young children (from newborn to school age)

– pregnant women

– people on a low income.

If two of the above conditions apply to you, use our grant checker to complete your application.

This route to eligibility is part of the ECO4 Flex Scheme (as explained above in ‘3. Eligibility based your on income’).

Evidence required to prove eligibility through the vulnerable route:

  • Vulnerable referral from NHS practitioner
  • Completed Flex statement (this is provided by the council signing the declaration)
  • Proof you reside at the address. This would usually be a utility bill dated in the last 3 months.

5. Eligibility based on health reasons

If you have a health condition made worse by living in a cold home such as:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Immunosuppressed
  • Mobility issues
  • Respiratory conditions

Households can be referred by a general medical practitioner, NHS Trust or a health board. You’ll need to evidence health-related conditions as part of the application process.

This route to eligibility is part of the ECO4 Flex Scheme (as explained above in ‘3. Eligibility based your on income’).

Evidence required to prove eligibility through the heater route:

  • Health referral from NHS practitioner
  • Completed Flex statement (this is provided by the council signing the declaration)
  • Proof you reside at the address. This would usually be a utility bill dated in the last 3 months.

6. Eligibility based on where you live called “Bespoke Targeting”

Bespoke Targeting allows installers or local authorities to submit an application where they have identified low income and vulnerable households in certain locations. Bespoke Targeting is an alternative way of identifying and offering energy efficiency measures to households, who do not meet the eligibility criteria that already exist under ECO4. If you believe this could be the basis of your eligibility, please contact us for further details.

Property requirements for these Gov grants

Hopefully, you (as the householder) qualify for an ECO grant in one of these six ways listed above. If you do, that’s great!

The next step is to check if your property qualifies.

In order to qualify for an ECO grant during the ECO4 phase of funding, your property must:

  • have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D, E, F or G if you live in your own home (only 15% of the budget can be used on Band D properties so at the moment installers are only accepting properties with an E, F or G rating)
  • have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E, F or G if you rent your home from a private landlord or housing association (note social housing properties can get grants if they have a Band D rating but only for ‘innovation’ measures)
  • have inefficient heating that requires upgrading (this rules out properties with condensing or combi boilers)
  • be your main residence (you cannot get an ECO grant for a second home but you can get grants for buy to let property if tenants are eligible through one of the six ways mentioned in this post)

How to check eligibility and apply

The first step is to pop your details into our free grant checker. If your property meets the requirements, you will be connected to an installer covering your area.

The application process will vary depending on your installer but, generally, it’s pretty straightforward:

  • Check eligibility using our grant checker and receive an immediate result
  • Desktop assessment of your property takes place within 48 hours
  • If the property looks eligible, the installer will come to your home and assess the property
  • The installer carries out an online energy improvement simulation to check that the property will achieve the minimum increase in energy-rating required (the EPC must be improved from an E to a C, F to a D, G to a D to qualify)
  • Prior to the installation, the installer’s compliance team checks they have all of the documentation required for a successful application
  • The installer applies for the grant and arranges the installation for you
  • After the installation, the installer invoices the energy company for the grant amount.

In short, the installer will take care of each step of the application process for you.

(P.S. The other good news is that the ECO grants aren’t the only grants available to make your home more energy efficient. Our grant tool will check if you are eligible for any other ECO schemes. You can also register to be notified for updates about future schemes.)

Customer Reviews

“Good morning all! I hope all is well. I just wanted to let you know that the central heating system has now been installed. Mum is delighted with it, thank you so much! The installers, Alex and Mike, were brilliant and we can’t thank them and your teams enough. I’m assuming now we just wait for the electrician to come out to sort the spur for the boiler and then the mechanical extraction fans? Again, thank you all very much. Having lived there for most of my life, it feels very strange to walk into a warm house during these cold winter months!! Kindest regards, Phil Haines” 

“Thank you. Even though it’s not the news I wanted, it does mean I have an answer now! I started the process with British Gas in November! I got further with you in less than 24 hrs than I did with them in six whole months!!! Have a great week and even better weekend – Rachel”

“I couldn’t believe how fast they worked! They started 8:30am Monday and were done by 5pm Tuesday! They were friendly and polite and when they arrived we explained about our Son and they positioned his radiator so that disturbance to his room was minimal. The heating is lovely. We realise just how bloody cold we have been. We have the fancy app on the phone that controls it so we can put it on before we get home from work/school etc – very nice. Fingers crossed we save money too. (Our electric bills in winter were over £200 per month !) Also I wanted to thank you for all of your help. I feel like I have been speaking to you all year. I will definitely continue to recommend you to others. Thanks, Claire”

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