8th April 2022
A cross-industry letter has been sent to HM Treasury today to put pressure on the Government to expand the support available for homes at risk of fuel poverty.
The call follows the lack of focus on energy efficiency within the Energy Security Strategy published in response to rising global energy prices and volatility in international markets.
The Government has provided support for energy efficiency measures since 2013 under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which has since seen over 3 million energy efficiency measures installed in more than 2 million homes. However, while the tried and tested scheme targets vulnerable households, support for homes that fall outside this definition are not eligible.
Two million more UK households could in fact be plunged into fuel poverty due to the price cap increase this April according to National Energy Action (NEA), with the cost of living crisis expected to worsen in Autumn.
Backed by leaders across the energy efficiency industry, the Sustainable Energy Association is calling on the Government to strengthen its Energy Security Strategy by expanding the eligibility criteria for ECO.
The proposed solution is an ECO + Scheme, which would run adjacent but separate to ECO to ensure the key support the scheme brings to vulnerable households is not impacted, whilst helping those who will soon be at risk.
Jade Lewis, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association said:
“We welcome the Government taking steps to provide the nation with greater energy security, however, the SEA believes that the strategy does not place enough emphasis on energy efficiency, which is the most effective way to provide long term security against future energy bill rises. Energy efficiency provides additional benefits like supporting the UK’s transition to Net-Zero, stimulating investment in industry and improving comfort and wellbeing. Extending the remit of the Energy Company Obligation would provide an established mechanism for delivering energy efficiency.”
Kaa Holmes, Communications Director at EDF Energy said:
“Insulating homes is the best way to cut dependence on gas and reduce heating bills. More householders need to be able to make this step. EDF fully supports ECO + to help to insulate customers from energy price increases and support the Government in achieving its net zero and energy security ambitions.”
Andrew Warren, Chair, British Energy Efficiency Federation (BEEF) said:
“ECO+ will guarantee both lower fuel bills for participants, and will be the swiftest, cheapest and most reliable way of delivering energy security. Bar none. We already have the least energy efficient housing stock in western Europe; every other western European government is set to expand similar schemes.”
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Notes to Editors
- It is proposed that the ‘ECO+ Scheme’ would build upon the success of the current ECO scheme, bringing its benefits to the ‘able-to-pay’. It would run adjacent, but separate to, the current iteration of ECO to ensure the key support ECO brings to vulnerable households is not impacted.
- A key difference is that whilst energy bill payers fund the current ECO scheme to support action to benefit vulnerable householders, ECO+ would have to be funded utilising taxpayer funding as additional costs could not be placed on energy bill payers at the current time.
- The full letter and its signatories can be found here.