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Support available to help cut cost of heating homes

Published on Monday, August 24, 2020

Central heating

PEOPLE in Leicester are being reminded that they could benefit from government funding for energy efficiency improvements to their homes, even if they don’t meet national eligibility criteria.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government scheme that aims to reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty by funding energy efficiency improvements at qualifying homes.

Improvements available include loft, wall and underfloor insulation, boiler replacements and energy efficient heating.

The scheme is aimed at low income households that are in fuel poverty. To be eligible for the national ‘ECO Help to Heat’ scheme, households must be in receipt of benefits and live in a home with a low energy efficient rating.

In addition, Leicester City Council also has set its own local eligibility criteria as part of the ‘ECO Flex’ programme. This means that households that are in in fuel poverty but not in receipt of qualifying benefits, or who are on a low income and vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home, may benefit from the scheme.

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “It’s really important that people realise there is funding available to help them heat their homes efficiently and affordably.

“The ECO and ECO Flex schemes can fund a range of energy efficient improvements that will cut carbon, reduce household energy bills and help ensure that people enjoy warm and healthy homes.

“We are always looking for opportunities to support low cost, low carbon schemes and to the pass benefits on to homeowners and householders across the city.”

The scheme is funded by the main energy suppliers and administered by Ofgem on behalf the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

To apply for the national ECO scheme, people should contact any of the main energy suppliers. There are also over forty registers ECO Flex installers that can be contacted if you do not meet the national eligibility criteria. A property assessment will then be arranged by the installer.

Almost 1,000 households in Leicester have enquired about the scheme since April 2020.

Full details of eligibility criteria, registered ECO Flex installers and how to apply are available on the council’s website at www.leicester.gov.uk/your-council/policies-plans-and-strategies/energy-efficiency/help-to-heat/

Leicester households could also soon be able to benefit from the Government’s recently announced Green Homes Grant. Under this scheme, homeowners and landlords will be able to apply for a voucher of up to £5,000 to fund up to two thirds of the cost of upgrading the energy performance of their home. Low income households will be eligible for up to 100% government funding, up to around £10,000.

The scheme will be launched this autumn with more details and advice due to be published later this month at www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk