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Energy Company Obligation (ECO4 Flex)

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme. Its aim is to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty by improving the energy efficiency of homes occupied by low income, fuel poor and vulnerable households.

Our role is to assess the eligibility of a household and is not involved or responsible for issuing the funding, appointing contractors or installing the works.

ECO Flex is run by private companies (installers) and the funding for the improvements are awarded by the energy suppliers.

Your chosen installer(s) will carry out a survey and identify a package of improvements suitable for your property.

If eligible, you could qualify for any of the improvements listed below. This is not the full list and other improvements might be available depending on the installer.

  • Loft insulation
  • Pitched roof insulation
  • Flat roof insulation
  • Room in roof insulation
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • External wall insulation
  • Internal wall insulation
  • Floor insulation (solid or suspended floors)
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Gas boilers
  • Electric boilers
  • Biomass boilers
  • Heating controls
  • Electric storage heaters
  • Solar PV panels
  • High performance external doors
  • Window glazing
  • Draught proofing

Low-income households who are in fuel poverty qualify for ECO. If you receive benefits and live in a property with a low energy efficiency rating, then you can apply directly through an energy supplier. Funding is only available for private owner occupiers and private rented tenants.

You are eligible for funding if you are a core group customer from scheme year 12 onwards under the Warm Home Discount Scheme or you receive at least one of the following benefits and satisfy the relevant income requirements, where applicable:

  • Child Benefit
  • Pension Guarantee Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits)
  • Universal Credit
  • Housing benefit
  • Pension credit saving credit.

If you do not receive a qualifying benefit then you might still qualify through ECO’s flexible eligibility mechanism, known as ECO Flex. To be assessed for ECO Flex you must complete and sign a short application form that is then submitted to us along with supporting documents, such as proof of income, for determining eligibility. The ECO Flex eligibility criteria is detailed on our Statement of Intent (PDF).

You cannot send the application form directly to us. We will only accept applications from the household’s chosen installer.

Once we have confirmed eligibility, we will provide a written declaration that a household qualifies to the installer, who will then pass this onto an energy supplier along with supporting evidence requested by the supplier, such as proof of occupancy/ownership (utility bills etc.).

We charge an administration fee of £50 for each address an installer asks us to assess. This charge covers our checking, processing and approval procedures and is paid by the installer. An installer should not charge you as a household.

You are responsible for choosing an installer and carrying out checks to ensure you are satisfied with the installation company. Your chosen installer must be TrustMark registered.

You can find a registered installer on the TrustMark website.

Be aware

Several installers are operating in Leicester and are contacting households using a variety of methods such as cold calling or leaflet drops. We can’t endorse or recommend any particular installer, but if you choose to engage with one of these installers, we recommend you check they are TrustMark registered, using the website above.

We recommend you request to see their company ID when they visit your property. Make sure they leave you with their contact details in case you want to check on the status of your application after they leave because we will not have access to this information.

It is your responsibility to carry out the following checks:

  • Do you need planning permission or building regulations approval: Certain types of insulation such as external wall insulation might need planning permission and building regulations approval and as a homeowner/landlord it will be your responsibility to apply for this.
  • Find out if the installer is a member of a competent person scheme related to electrics or insulation work, like the MCS, NICEIC, CIGA or Stroma schemes. If they are then they will be able to self-certify their work, rather than needing to get building regulations approval from your local council.
  • Make sure they are Gas Safe registered. By law all engineers installing gas boilers must be on the Gas Safe Register.
  • Check if they provide any guarantees or warranties on the installation and make sure you are provided with these and any other associated paperwork upon completion of an install.

The installer working on behalf of the energy supplier will decide what level of support and type of improvements you could receive

A signed declaration of eligibility from us does not guarantee the installation of any improvements, as the final decision considers the suitability of the improvement for your house and if the improvement will increase your homes levels of energy efficiency or not.

Initial complaints about an installation should firstly be made to the company who installed the measure, but if problems persist you should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Services for free impartial advice.

The government has made it a requirement that the large energy suppliers provide the funding to pay for the energy efficiency improvements to your homes. The funds are passed directly to private installer who must be a PAS2030/TrustMark accredited company to be able to install energy efficiency measures in your home.

Ofgem administers the scheme on behalf of the Government Department for Energy, Business & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).  Ofgem’s duties include allocating targets to obligated suppliers, monitoring supplier progress and deciding whether they’ve achieved their obligations, reporting to the Secretary of State, auditing, ensuring compliance and preventing and detecting fraud. BEIS sets the overall policy for the ECO scheme.

Interested in providing energy efficiency improvements under this scheme?

Find out how to apply to become an ECO4 Flex installer.

In the first instance you should complain to the installer directly. If you don't know who your installer was you can email the ECO team at OFGEM to request this information ([email protected]).
If the installer fails to remedy the issues then you should follow OFGEM's complaints procedure on their website:  ECO4 Complaints process | Ofgem
Alternatively you could try contacting Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline (especially if its a trading standards issue) -  08454 04 05 06
All ECO4/GBIS (including ECO4/GBIS Flex) installers must be TrustMark registered and accredited by a scheme provider. TrustMark is a government endorsed quality scheme (Why TrustMark? • TrustMark) and they have some guidance around resolving disputes on their website, where they explain how the installers accreditation scheme provider might also be able to help to resolve any issues. ‎If Things Go Wrong • TrustMark
Leicester City Council cannot help resolve disputes around poor quality ECO4 installs because the installers are not contracted by the council, therefore we have no authority over them.​

Great British Insulation Scheme (GBIS)

The Great British Insulation Scheme is a new government energy efficiency scheme that’s is administered by Ofgem. The scheme complements the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) scheme, yet unlike ECO4’s ‘whole house’ approach, this scheme will mostly deliver single insulation measures. It is available to those living in homes whose council tax bands are A to D and have an EPC rating of D to G. If you meet this criteria you can apply at GOV.UK.

Households not meeting this criteria can still benefit from the GBIS scheme by applying through the same flexible eligibility routes as ECO4, as detailed in the 'what if I do not receive a qualifying benefit?' and 'How do I find an installer?' sections above.