Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – Help to Heat Consultation response issued

This morning (30th January)  the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published its response to the Help to Heat consultation, which is setting the agenda for the next period of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Policy, due to start on 1st April 2017.

Elmhurst are very disappointed to see that that the consultation has concluded that ECO should adopt all the proposals for deemed scores and remove the need for EPCs in everything except the social housing sector and for district heating schemes.

The Government in their response state that the key policy decisions made include:

  • An 18 month extension to the ECO scheme (April 2017 – September 2018).
  • Introduction of a more simplified and targeted scheme. The Affordable Warmth Group will be increased to around 4.7m rather than 4m (in consultation) households. This will include more households who are in fuel poverty, and those on lower incomes, who may be struggling to meet heating and other bills;
  • Eligibility for certain measures under Affordable Warmth will be extended to social housing in EPC bands E, F or G;
  • Local authorities will have a role in determining eligible homes, following the introduction of the ‘flexible eligibility’ mechanism, which suppliers can use for up to 10% of their Affordable Warmth obligation;
  • The requirement to deliver a minimum level of solid wall insulation will be increased from the proposed equivalent (in consultation) of 17,000 measures per year to 21,000 per year;
  • Rural delivery will be protected as 15% of Carbon Emission Reduction Obligation will be delivered in rural areas.
  • Administration will be simplified. ‘Deemed scores’ will be introduced in place of the current Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) methodology.

Elmhurst, and NHER, campaigned hard for the following;

  1. Deemed scores should be used for trading eco and dealing with understanding how much installers will be paid
  2. ECO funds should be targeted at E, F or G rated homes irrelevant of tenure – by applying an inflator that incentivises installers to improve the properties most in need (E, F and G rated).
  3. A post-installation Energy Performance Certificate should be produced, to give home owners the truthful position of their home and also indicate potential other areas that can be improved.
  4. The Energy Assessor should then give energy management education to the family – with the complete facts of the whole property

Disappointingly no other accreditation schemes appear to have given their views. We still believe that if our detailed proposal had been adopted everyone would have gained. 

  1. Installers would have had certainty on the amount of funding they will receive based on the deemed scores.
  2. The lead generators and installers would have been incentivised to find the least efficient E, F & G rated properties.
  3. The families would have received the truthful assessment of their home, which will also indicate possible other improvement that can be made
  4. Families could have also be advised in energy management for their home from an independent expert.

Martyn Reed MD of Elmhurst Energy states:

“We wanted to make sure that the right people and the right homes get the right help. We fervently believe that energy assessors using RdSAP and EPCs should have been retained at the core of this policy,” continues Martyn. “throughout  both consultations  BEIS have stated that the ECO Policy is all about helping families in fuel poverty and whilst ECO will improve properties it will not improve the homes that need it most.”

BEIS do acknowledge (ref 52) that the proposed scheme may not adequately target the private rental or owner occupied sectors and commit to its consideration in the design of future schemes.

The new policy direction has in our opinion removed the families from the equation, the market will now all be about the money spent, the number of installs multiplied by an inflated carbon figure (ref 150).

The transition “year” has been extended to 18 months during which time BEIS will gain experience with this new way of working, and be planning for the next phase of ECO that will run to 2022. Elmhurst will use all its knowledge, experience and efforts to bring EPCs back to the core of governments energy strategy for the benefit of members and those in fuel poverty.”


BEIS Announcement in full:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/energy-company-obligation-eco-help-to-heat

  Elmhurst full response:

http://www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk/put-families-back-at-the-heart-of-the-new-eco-policy

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