The cost of energy bills is most likely at the forefront of a lot of minds at the moment, as the winter descends more and more people are making the decision as to whether they can afford to put on their heating. Britons are often told to have their boiler serviced regularly in order to make sure it is in the best condition, however, due to the sometimes high cost of these checks some people can’t afford to follow this advice.
This inadvertently could make their energy bills more expensive as the boiler wouldn’t be working to the best of its ability.
In 2013, the UK Government launched the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme which aims to help households struggling with energy costs to afford home improvements, and aims to reduce carbon emissions in the long run.
The scheme does this by providing those eligible with grants for improving insulation in their home, upgrading or replacing parts to a current boiler, or even helping with the cost of a brand new boiler installation.
Energy companies are to deliver the scheme and they can determine which measures they offer to install and the installers that do the work.
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There is no funding cap however the energy companies providing the scheme decide how much funding they provide.
Priority households which are more vulnerable to cold and damp may be more likely to access higher levels of funding.
To be eligible for financial help, people will need to be living in private housing and claiming one of the qualifying benefits.
These include Working/Child Tax Credit, Pension Credit, Universal Credit, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Child or Housing Benefit.
Some benefits are now not included in the list of qualifying benefits but were in previous renditions of the scheme.
These include disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance, Severe Disablement Allowance, and Carer’s Allowance.
People in England, Scotland and Wales are able to access the scheme.
If someone owns their property then it must have an energy efficiency rating of either D, E, F or G.
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However, if someone is renting their home from a private landlord, then it must have an energy efficiency rating of E, F or G.
People can use the Government’s energy certificate checker tool to find out their home’s energy efficiency rating.
According to the rules of the scheme, all gas and electricity supplies with over 150,000 customers must offer ECO funding.
Some of the UK’s biggest energy companies, such as British Gas EDF Energy, Octopus Energy, Shell Energy, supply the scheme.
However, people should contact their providers to ask about what support they could be offered.
If people believe they are entitled to the support, they can get in contact with the Energy Saving Trust or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
People will then be advised on the route they can take in order to get the funding.
People can also approach their supplier with the request.
According to checkatrade.com, a new boiler can cost an individual between £500 to £3,000 depending on the type of boiler someone buys.
With the labour to install it added on top, this could jump to between £2,000 to £4,500.
If someone is eligible to receive a new boiler under the ECO scheme they could potentially save between a few hundred to potentially a few thousand pounds.