Last night saw great news for residents and the environment as Wokingham Borough Council’s executive approved the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and local ECO Flex ‘Help to Heat’ scheme.
This new green initiative aims to help eligible residents improve the energy efficiency of low performing homes with a range of works such as loft or cavity wall insulation.
And the best part is that the improvements are usually either free or heavily subsidised as they are funded through a national levy on major energy suppliers such as British Gas, EDF Energy, EON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE.
“Currently almost 1800 homes in Wokingham Borough are believed to have the worst energy performance rating of E, F or G, with almost half of this figure made up of council homes and social housing stock. This low rating means these homes are performing very inefficiently with occupiers paying much higher heating bills than they should.
“We already know that fuel poverty, caused by continually increasing energy costs, is affecting 1 in 10 households across the UK, and is having a massive impact on some of the eldest, most vulnerable and most at risk residents of the borough. We don’t believe anybody should be forced to decide between ‘heating and eating’ which is why initiatives like the ECO scheme, and the new Green Homes Grant, are so important for our local residents. By improving the energy efficiency of local homes we can help occupiers reduce their bills and enjoy warmer, more comfortable homes.
“Improving the energy efficiency of local homes will also help tackle the wider climate emergency by lowering carbon emissions across the borough.”
In addition to helping local home owners access the scheme the council intends to use ECO funding to improve low performing council homes to help benefit local tenants as well.
To qualify for support resident’s will need to meet certain eligibility criteria and have their homes current energy performance surveyed by the council’s ECO scheme partner, Insta Group Ltd, to assess whether improvements can be made in line with the scheme requirements.
National ECO eligibility criteria includes those in receipt of a range of benefits such as Universal Credit or the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). However, by adopting the local ECO Flex ‘Help to Heat’ element alongside this, the council will also be able to increase eligibility criteria to include a wider range of residents.
Details of the wider eligibility criteria, the types of improvements available and how to apply for support, will be shared when the council ECO Help to Heat scheme launches later in October.
You can find out more about the ECO scheme on the Ofgem website at