This article has been amended since its original publication to reflect the latest updates to the ECO scheme in 2017.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave these past few years there’s a very good chance that you’ll have heard all about the Government’s energy company funded free boiler grant scheme. In a nutshell, if you’re on specific benefits and meet set criteria there’s a free boiler grant out there with your name on it. Well not literally, but you know what we mean.
The free boiler grant scheme, which sometimes goes by the name of ECO (that’s short for Energy Company Obligation), was introduced in 2013 to help millions of fuel poor households (those who spend more than 10% of their annual income on fuel) who struggle to heat their homes with old, inefficient and faulty central heating boilers.
If you qualify for the scheme you’ll receive a grant towards a brand new boiler which should result in cheaper bills – by up to £340 a year if you’re replacing a G-rated boiler.
Since February 2013 people up and down the country have been visiting Boiler Grants to see if they qualify for a free boiler grant. And with the prospect of another harsh cold winter just around the corner more and more people will be looking to take advantage of the scheme.
Although touted as a scheme to replace boilers for free when it was originally launched in January 2013, due to funding cuts more people are being asked to make a contribution towards their new boiler. The boiler grant will meet some of the cost and the householder will need to make up the shortfall.
Here’s a few more things you should know about the boiler grant scheme:
- Only homeowners and private tenants can apply. Tenants renting privately will need to get permission from their landlord first. If you have a verbal tenancy agreement or live with parents Ofgem’s unwritten tenancy agreement can be used to demonstrate your status.
- Boiler grants will be available until the Energy Company Obligation closes its doors, which will be in September 2018. Energy Providers have agreed to make a funding pot of £1.3 billion available for each year the scheme is operational.
- The free boiler scheme isn’t open to everyone unfortunately. You have to be on certain benefits to apply and the criteria is very strict. For example pensioners need to be in receipt of Pension Guarantee Credit; a state pension alone will not be enough.
- Energy providers risk massive fines if they don’t meet carbon emissions targets set by the Government.
- The scheme applies to non condensing gas boilers, or condensing boilers under 86% efficient. We are now also taking applications for LPG, oil boiler and electric storage heater grants.
- Your existing boiler must be inefficient (less than 86%) with a rating of between Band C and Band G. This can easily be established by the make and model of your boiler. A and B rated condensing boilers are not eligible for replacement.
- Around 2.5 million households could potentially benefit from a boiler grant. Your household could be one of them.
- The free boiler scheme is proving very popular. From initial contact to the day of installation the whole process could take 2-3 months, depending on the company carrying out the boiler grant installation.
- As we’ve already said, the grant itself is free. Provided you qualify for a boiler grant, you will only have to pay part of the cost towards your new boiler, the majority will be made up of a grant that you don’t have to pay back.
- Getting your hands on a free boiler grant is a pretty simple and straightforward process.