Energy Company Obligation

Flexible Eligibility for Fuel Poor Households

The Energy Company Obligation is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. The Electricity and Gas (Energy Company Obligation) Order 2018 sets out the households who would automatically qualify for energy savings measures.

In addition to this, there is a degree of flexibility which allows Local Authorities to refer households to suppliers for support, in particular households in fuel poverty or with occupants on low incomes and vulnerable to the effects of cold homes, and who otherwise would not be eligible. This is referred to as the Help to Heat Flexible Eligibility Criteria.

Energy companies can deliver up to 25% of their full obligation within these criteria. In order to access this funding, Local Authorities are obliged to publish a ‘Statement of Intent’.

We have set our own criteria and these are aimed at those who are most likely to be in fuel poverty and we will work with energy companies and their authorised installers to maximise the use of flexible eligibility. These criteria are set in our Statement of Intent (version 4).

Households are considered eligible for flexible eligibility ECO if they are at risk of living in fuel poverty or a low income household, with at least one member of the household vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home. In order to be eligible, properties must be owner-occupied or privately rented.

However, it must be noted that fitting within the Statement of Intent does not guarantee that any individual household will benefit from energy saving improvements as the final decision will rest with the individual energy suppliers and this will depend on:

  • The survey carried out by the energy company or their authorised installer and installation costs calculated;
  • The energy savings that can be achieved for a property; and
  • Whether energy companies have achieved their ECO targets or require further measures to meet their ECO targets.

Hartlepool Statement of Intent

Hartlepool Borough Council is working with a consortium of Local Authorities led by Northumberland County Council on a Warm Homes Fund scheme and we have published a Joint Statement of Intent.