The Government’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme has been running since 2014, is this scheme effective and how does it work in reality?
ECO requires the big six utility companies to provide funding for energy saving products to be installed in households. This offsets carbon production and helps the UK to meet its carbon saving requirement for 2020. A newly updated Part 2 of the scheme will run from April 2015 – 2017. The scheme itself is confusing for those looking in and is one of the most tightly regulated schemes in industry. Kuco Ltd (kucoltd.co.uk) are government registered installers under the scheme.
Replacement boilers are offered under a vein of ECO called HHCRO, more government acronyms, where qualifying households receive a grant from the utility company to fully fund or subsidise a replacement boiler.
How does the Replacement Boiler Scheme work in practice?
Funding can’t stretch to all households, so government identified neediest households as being homeowners, or private tenants, in receipt of certain government benefits.
There has to be some way to identify those who need the support most and this seems like a good starting point, it’s very difficult for a company to means test every applicant. Some people may view this as those on benefits getting support over hard working families though.
Kuco have installed replacement boilers for many households, whilst some could stretch to a new boiler, majority of customers have been without heating and hot water for some time.
Households which qualify generate a fund value based on property type, this is a contribution towards, or to fully fund, new replacement boilers. Energy efficient boilers mean that households reduce their heating bills at the same time offsetting carbon production from the Energy company.
You could argue that those in smaller properties need the help more? However the bigger and less insulated a property is, the more funding it generates. So a single person receiving state pension credit living in a 4 bed detached house with no loft insulation would generate a larger fund value over a family of 4 living in a 2 bed terraced house with insulation, arguably it should be reversed.
The ECO scheme and Kuco are making a difference and whilst it will have its detractors, the simple facts are this is offsetting carbon and helping low income households.
Here are two examples of ECO funding in practice;
An older gentleman on his own in the four bed family home, receives state pension credit top up to help get by, but with no additional money or income. The boiler was broken for 2 months before Kuco were contacted. Without the means to pay for a replacement he’d got by during winter relying on other means to keep warm. Kuco fast tracked this job, providing a replacement boiler free of charge due to the funding the property generated.
The second example was a single parent of four, whose husband had disappeared and left a large property and family to maintain. They could get by, but when the boiler failed and repeated engineers visits were required, all their money was spent on the boiler. Kuco inspected the boiler which was seriously corroded amongst other issues. A replacement was provided with minimal contribution making a real difference for this family, who responded “Thank you soooooooooo much for all your help, really chuffed to have it all done and your service has been truly professional, courteous and brilliant!”
Householders in the South of England and London can visit the Kuco Ltd website to check if they qualify free of charge.
Who knows what’s next next, but with the 2020 obligation on carbon reduction the UK needs to think of new innovative ideas, the ECO scheme itself is set to run until 2017 currently, fingers crossed the next government will see the benefit and look to extend this further.
Whilst the ECO (Energy Company Obligation) scheme isn’t perfect, it is a step in the right direction. It is difficult for Government to cover everyone’s needs, but this is making a difference. The fact the replacement boiler scheme is very tightly regulated should also mean the end customer is getting good service and quality installs unlike other government schemes gone before which have been enabled cowboy businesses. If more customers like the ones identified above can benefit and a by-product is reduced Carbon emissions then it would seem to be working, not a great plan, but certainly a good one.
About Kuco Ltd
Kuco Ltd are based in South London, working under the replacement boiler scheme.
Their local team offer service and support which is second to none.
Any household can find out if they could benefit by visiting the Kuco website.
Get in touch
0208 406 7038