The voice of the energy industry

Energy efficiency

Energy suppliers work closely with Government and stakeholders to offer consumers opportunities to be more energy efficient.

Energy efficiency is essential to help consumers reduce their energy consumption and improve the comfort of their homes. It is also central to achieving the UK’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels.

Energy suppliers have an obligation to deliver energy efficient measures to householders via the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO). ECO was introduced in Great Britain at the beginning of 2013 and replaces two previous energy efficiency programmes, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

There are a number of measures that can help improve energy efficiency at home, from double glazing and insulation to efficient light bulbs.

Customers can take small steps to save energy, such as purchasing energy-efficient appliances, ensuring appliances are not left on stand-by, using energy efficiency light bulbs, and insulating walls. Different homes might need different forms of insulation – be it loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and solid wall insulation, depending on how the property is built, but insulation can notably reduce all heating bills.

Energy Companies Obligation

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) is a domestic energy efficiency programme 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 two distinct targets:
  • The Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation (CERO) which focuses on the promotion of hard-to-treat homes. 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. Some CERO must also be delivered in rural areas.
  • The Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) which focuses on the promotion of measures which improve the ability of low income and vulnerable household to heat their homes. This includes actions that result in heating savings, such as the replacement or repair of a boiler.
There are lots of opportunities for customers to access energy efficiency improvements via the ECO. To find out more, contact your energy supplier.
Changes to ECO

The most recent ECO scheme (ECO 3) commenced on 3 December 2018 and is a two-year obligation that will run until 31 March 2022. This iteration of the scheme is formed entirely from the HHRCO, and suppliers are obligated to mainly promote measures that will support low income, fuel poor and vulnerable households to heat their homes.

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

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