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The Energy Company Obligation (ECO)

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is split into three separate obligations and is delivered by the fuel suppliers.

This webpage provides information about two of the three obligations:

  • ï‚· Affordable Warmth Obligation (also known as the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation)
  • ï‚· Carbon Saving Community Obligation


Affordable Warmth Obligation 

The Affordable Warmth Obligation of ECO is designed to support low-income, vulnerable households in private tenures and owned homes. It is targeted at those who receive certain means-tested benefits and tax credits. Available measures may include boiler repair or replacement, loft or cavity wall insulation. Qualifying householders may receive either a free, or heavily subsidised measure(s).

Eligibility Criteria 

To qualify for help under the Affordable Warmth Obligation the householder must own their property or rent it privately and have the landlord’s permission to do the work (see the Citizens Advice ‘ECO and landlord consent’ below for further information).

The householder must also get one of the following benefits:

  • ï‚· Pension Credit
  • ï‚· Child Tax Credit (and their income is £16,010 or less)
  • ï‚· Working Tax Credit (and their income is £16,010 or less) – plus one of the extra conditions below
  • ï‚· Income Support – plus one of the extra conditions below
  • ï‚· Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance – plus one of the extra conditions below
  • ï‚· Income-related Employment and Support Allowance – plus the support or work related element, or one of the extra conditions below
  • ï‚· Universal Credit (and earn £1,250 or less after tax in any assessment period in the last 12 months) – plus one of the extra conditions below


Extra conditions 

For certain benefits, one of the following must also apply:

  • ï‚· get Child Tax Credit and the child is disabled
  • ï‚· get Disabled Child Premium
  • ï‚· get Disability Premium
  • get Pensioner Premium
  • ï‚· receive a work-related activity or support component – if claiming income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • ï‚· aged 60 or over – if claiming Working Tax Credit
  • ï‚· get a limited capability for work or work-related activity element – if claiming Universal Credit
  • ï‚· get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment – if claiming Universal Credit


ECO and landlord consent

The information below has been provided by Citizens Advice.

Consent for installation of measures

Successful installation of energy efficiency measures under the ECO can only take place with all the required consents in place.

Types of consent: 

In general the types of consent are as follows:

  1. where a leaseholder or tenant is applying for the installation of measures, consent of the landlord for the property is required;
  2. where the landlord is applying for the install of measures, consent of the leaseholder/ tenant is required; or
  3. where the householder owns the freehold on the property, only their consent is required.

However, please note the following: 

  1. that these types of consent can be subject to exception, as is noted in the next section on caveats;
  2. where there is a managing agency such as a management company or an estate agent, consent of the landlord will be required in accordance with the tenancy or lease agreement.

Important caveats: 

  1. These types of consent are highly likely to be dependent on the terms and conditions of any lease.
  2. From 2016 onwards, landlords are not to be permitted to refuse “reasonable requests” for energy efficiency measures.

Landlord consent: 

Across the ECO scheme this means that:

  • ï‚· for Affordable Warmth measures, this will be from the private landlord;
  • ï‚· for the social housing element of the Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO) – see below – measures, it will be the local authority or Housing Association; and
  • ï‚· for the rural areas element of the CSCO measures, this will be the private landlord, or the local authority or Housing Association

How to apply for the Affordable Warmth Obligation 

Contact the independent Energy Saving Advice Service (ESAS) to find out what help is available.

ESAS confirms customers’ eligibility for the Affordable Warmth Obligation with the Department for Work and Pensions and refers all who are eligible to the obligated energy suppliers who have agreed to offer a minimum package of assistance to those households within an agreed timeframe. The support available can include a survey of the property, tariff advice, checking eligibility for the Warm Home Discount Scheme Broader Group and if appropriate, a heating and insulation measure.

Householders who do not qualify for help under the Affordable Warmth Obligation will be informed by the ESAS about other possible options available to them.

Energy Saving Advice Service (England and Wales) Telephone: 0300 123 1234 Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm/ Saturday, 10am to 2pm

The Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO) 

This obligation focuses on low-income households and areas. The areas of low- income eligible for ECO support have been selected using the Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) in England, Scotland and Wales. The lowest 25% of areas ranked in the IMD qualify for inclusion within this obligation. All homes within the area are eligible, including social housing.

To ensure that rural areas are able to benefit from this obligation the Government requires energy suppliers to deliver a minimum of 15% of their Carbon Saving Community Obligation to low-income households living in rural areas. Qualifying households need to be within a settlement containing fewer than 10,000 inhabitants and in receipt of the same qualifying means-tested benefits and tax credits as required by the Affordable Warmth Obligation (see above).

In April 2014 the qualifying criteria for the CSCO rural sub-group was simplified allowing energy suppliers to deliver against this sub-target to any domestic property located in approximately the poorest 25% of rural areas, as well as households who are members of the Affordable Warmth Group.

The measures available under this obligation include cavity wall insulation, loft and solid wall insulation.

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