Energy Companies Obligation

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The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) is a domestic energy efficiency programme which works alongside the Green Deal to provide added support for packages of energy efficiency measures.


These measures can help with cutting down energy loss from a building and lead to less energy use. Support includes insulation and heating packages to low income and vulnerable households and insulation measures to low income communities.


Energy efficiency plays a key role in helping to lower energy bills. Following installation of most measures the difference will be immediate. Assuming that a consumer has been heating their home to an adequate level, they can continue doing so, but by using their heating less, resulting in significant bill reductions. Each house will require different measures for the optimum result, which is why it is important for the householder to work closely with their provider or installer to select best options.


ECO creates a legal obligation on energy suppliers to improve the energy efficiency of households through the establishment of three distinct targets:

  • The Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) which focuses on hard-to-treat homes and, in particular, measures that cannot be fully funded through the Green Deal. Solid wall insulation and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation are two examples. Other insulation measures and connections to district heating systems are also eligible if they are promoted as part of a package that includes solid wall insulation or hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation.
  • The Carbon Saving Community Obligation (CSCO) which focuses on the provision of insulation measures and connections to district heating systems to domestic energy users that live within an area of low income. 15% of this target must be achieved by promoting measures to low income and vulnerable households living in rural areas.
  • The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) under which suppliers provide measures which improve the ability of low income and vulnerable households to affordably heat their homes.


There are lots of opportunities for customers to access energy efficiency improvements via the ECO. To find out more, contact your energy supplier or call the Home Heat Helpline free on 0800 33 66 99 or visit www.homeheathelpline.org.uk.


The ECO is entering a period of change. On 2 December 2013, the Government announced its intention to make significant changes to ECO. On 5 March 2014, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published The Future of the Energy Company Obligation consultation outlining these proposed changes. Key proposals include but are not limited to the extension of the scheme to 2017, modifying the eligibility criteria for CSCO and allowable primary measures under CERO.


Read more information on Energy Companies Obligation on Ofgem’s website
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