Last month, the Government launched its ECO+ initiative in an attempt to help Britons with their soaring energy costs. Since October 2022, household gas and electricity bills with average usage have risen by 27 percent even with the price guarantee being implemented. This grant of up to £2,000 is set to help those struggling to pay their energy bills however someone’s eligibility is dependent on their council tax band.
What is the ECO+ scheme?
Through this latest endeavour, the Government has reserved £1billion worth of funding to be allocated to families across England, Scotland, and Wales.
This has been set aside to help households pay for the expensive cost of home improvements to mitigate high energy prices.
Examples of the products and services which can be paid for using the grant include the installation of loft and cavity wall insulation
According to the Government, around 80 percent of the funding will be accessible for those households who are in some of the least energy-efficient homes in the UK.
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These include homes which have been awarded with EPC rating of D or below and are in the lower council tax bands.
There will be two separate groups that will qualify for the ECO+ scheme: the “general group” and “low income group”.
Someone will be in a low-income group if they are living in a household within the energy performance certificate (EPC) band D to G.
As well as this, claimants must also be receiving a means-tested benefit to qualify under this group, as well as occupy social housing with poor energy efficiency, or get referred to as living in fuel poverty.
In comparison, the “general group” will be made up of homes in council tax bands A to D in England, A to E in Scotland and A to C in Wales, with a EPC rating of D or below.
Outside of the ECO+ scheme, the Government’s Help for Households campaign is set to expand to help families reduce their own household energy usage and bills.
The focus of the campaign growth will be to provide financially vulnerable people with the right information to bring down their gas and electricity costs.
Examples of Government guidance in doing this include lowering the temperature a boiler heats water to before it is sent to radiators (known as the boiler flow temperature) from 75 to 60 degrees.
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Also, the Government recommends turning down radiators in empty rooms and reducing heating loss from the property such as by draught proofing windows and doors.
On the ECO+ scheme and the plan to tackle energy bills, Grant Shapps, the Government’s Business and Energy Secretary, explained: “The Government put immediate help in place to support households in the wake of global energy price rises caused by Putin’s illegal march on Ukraine.
“Today, we launch the first of many measures to ensure the British public are never put in this position again as we work towards an energy independent future.
“A new ECO scheme will enable thousands more to insulate their homes, protecting the pounds in their pockets, and creating jobs across the country.
“And in the short term, our new public information campaign will also give people the tools they need to reduce their energy use while keeping warm this winter.”
Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, added: “With Putin’s war driving up gas prices worldwide, I know many families are feeling worried about their energy bills this winter and beyond.
“Our extensive energy support package is insulating people from the worst of this crisis, but we’re also supporting people to permanently cut their costs.
In the longer term, we need to make Britain more energy independent by generating more clean, affordable, home-grown power, but we also need more efficient homes and buildings.
“Our new ECO+ scheme will help hundreds of thousands of people across the UK to better insulate their homes to reduce consumption, with the added benefit of saving families hundreds of pounds each year.”