The last few years have not been too kind to bill payers in the UK, and it’s important now more than ever to ensure that your home is as energy efficient as it can be.
Along with adding insulation to your home, some government grants are currently available which can help go towards the cost of your energy bills, and help bring them down.
These schemes are available to help those that may be struggling to pay bills or are in or at risk of fuel poverty. In this article, we’ll explain how you can apply for these and work out if you are eligible.
Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) Programme
This programme was initially introduced to help out households that meet a particular set of criteria, and you could be eligible if you receive at least one of the following benefits:
· Housing benefit
· Child benefit
· Pension credit savings credit
· Pension guarantee credit
· Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
· Income-based jobseekers allowance (JSA)
· Income support
· Tax credits
· Universal credit
The purpose of the scheme for homeowners is to offer either free or discounted home improvements that make a house more energy efficient, such as loft insulation or cavity wall insulation. Other potential improvements include a boiler replacement.
This scheme means that big energy companies that have over 150,000 customers need to offer some help to their most vulnerable customers, to reduce the cost of their energy bills.
The exact availability will vary depending on which supplier you are with so it’s best to check to see what you are eligible for.
It’s important to note that if you are eligible for the ECO scheme then any work must go through the energy supplier, and you can’t claim the money back after the fact if you had the work done yourself.
At the time of writing in August 2022, ECO3 ended in March 2022, but ECO4 is available now and will run until March 2026.
Boiler Upgrade Scheme
Available for homes in England and Wales, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme offers support from the government to homes that want to switch to more renewable heat systems.
Some examples of these renewable heating systems that are eligible for a grant under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme include:
· Air source heat pumps
· Biomass systems
· Ground source heat pumps
· Solar thermal technologies
This scheme ended up replacing the Renewable Heat Incentive in April 2022 and allows those who install any of the above lists between 2022 and 2025 a grant to assist with the installation costs.
Nest Fuel Poverty Scheme
Offered by the Welsh Assembly Government, the Nest scheme provides low-income households with a grant to help make homes warmer while also reducing energy bills.
This is available to all homes in Wales with eligible applicants to be offered help on some potential additions they can install in their homes, including:
· Loft and cavity wall insulation
· Boiler replacement
· Solid wall insulation
· Draught proofing
Welsh homes can be eligible for this grant if they are owned or privately rented, receive a means-tested benefit such as child tax credit or housing benefit, and have an income below the threshold. More information can be found on the Nest Wales website.
Warmer Homes Scotland programme
This is available for Scottish homes that are owned outright or rented in the private sector with the tenants having lived there for over 12 months.
The purpose of the Warmer Homes Scotland programme is to make heating up the home much more affordable while also making them energy efficient.
Grants are given up to the maximum amount of £5,000 so that homes can make upgrades including the following:
· Loft insulation
· Wall insulation
· Central heating
To qualify, the home must have an energy rating of 72 or lower, a floor size of smaller than 230 metres, it needs to meet the tolerable living standard and must not have received support through Warmer Homes Scotland in the last five years.
There are also conditions that applicants must meet, with full information on the Warmer Homes Scotland site.
Some schemes are localised in particular areas of the UK, so it may be worth checking to see if you are eligible for any of these. Simply enter your postcode to find out.