Category - Boilers
Guide author photo

Will Scholfield, Engineer

30 May : Updated 30 May ● 5 min read

Everything you need to know about the ECO4 scheme

The UK Government launched its fourth instalment of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) in April 2022, a scheme which will run until March 31st 2026 and provide funding to support the country’s efforts to work towards a greener future.

The scheme aims to increase energy efficiency measures and heating in vulnerable households. It is funded by energy companies, who decide which projects they’ll support, the level of funding available, and the scheme coordinator and installers they’ll work with.

In this guide, we explore the ECO4 scheme in more detail, explaining its benefits, the eligibility criteria and how you can apply for funding.

What is the ECO4 scheme?

Initially launched in 2013, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) aims to make homes warmer and reduce carbon emissions while making energy suppliers accountable for supporting vulnerable and low-income households.

Since its introduction, ECO has installed around 3.5 million insulation and heating measures in 2.4 million homes. Highlighting its popularity and the critical work done to ensure people can access the energy-efficient upgrades that their homes need.

The scheme aims to deliver a more complete upgrade of homes, taking a whole-home approach that improves multiple aspects of a home's efficiency levels and reduces energy bills. This is to reach new minimum energy efficiency requirements - increasing homes from D and E bandings to at least a C, and F and G rated homes to band D.

As well as helping people pay for crucial work to energy inefficient properties, the scheme also contributes to the Government's commitment to reducing the nation's carbon emissions and net-zero targets.

What is ECO4 Flex?

ECO4 flex, or local authority flexible energy, is a referral mechanism that enables councils to widen the reliability criteria for the ECO4 scheme and tailor it to their specific area.

Under ECO4 Flex, a participating local authority can refer private tenure households that it considers to be living in fuel poverty or on a low income and vulnerable to the point of living in a cold home. ECO4 Flex is optional but allows suppliers to deliver up to 50% of their ECO obligation.

If a local authority wants to provide ECO4 funding through the Flex scheme, it must publish a statement of intent document outlining that it intends to participate in the scheme and follow the relevant rules to help households that don't claim benefits to access funding.

Local authorities are responsible for determining eligible households and may delegate this power to other councils.

How much funding can you apply for on the ECO4 scheme?

With ECO4, you can access up to £10,000 in funding to increase your home's energy efficiency rating. And you can use this money to buy a whole range of products and measures, from insulation to solar panels, an air source heat pump, or a new boiler.

How can you apply for an ECO4 grant?

To apply for the ECO4 scheme, contact your local council to find out if they're participating or contact energy suppliers directly. You can find information on the energy suppliers taking part, and their contact details, on the Ofgem website

You can get support from any provider, not just your energy supplier, provided you meet the eligibility criteria.

What are the eligibility criteria for the ECO4 scheme?

To benefit from the ECO4 scheme, you must own your home or have permission from your landlord, social housing provider or management company. It's important to remember that ECO4 is not a grant and that the participating energy companies may provide different levels and types of support. Because of this, we recommend you shop around for the deal most suited to you and your home's needs.

Eligible households must have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of D-G and receive one of the benefits below.

You'll be eligible for help under the ECO4 scheme if you live in private domestic premises and are a Help to Heat Group (HTHG) member. To be a member of the HTHG, you must receive one of the benefits below and satisfy the relevant income requirements.

What benefits qualify for the ECO4 scheme?

The list of benefits qualifying for the ECO4 scheme has changed, with some qualifying during the ECO3 scheme no longer being included.

The following benefits do qualify for ECO4 funding:

  • Child tax credits (CTC)
  • Child benefits - depending on income threshold
  • Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income support
  • Pension credit guarantee credit
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Warm home discount rebate
  • Working tax credit (WTC)
  • Housing benefits (new for ECO4)
  • Pension credit saving (new for ECO4)

The benefits below do not qualify for ECO4 funding:

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • Attendance allowance
  • Carer's allowance
  • Constant attendance allowance
  • Disability living allowance
  • Industrial injuries disablement benefit
  • Personal independence payment
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • War pensions mobility supplement

To check whether you're eligible for help with your energy bills, use the Government's energy grants calculator.

What is the child benefit income threshold to qualify for ECO4 funding?

Number of childrenSingle claimantMember of a couple

In-fill houses and flats

Some households may not meet the criteria for fuel poverty or vulnerability but are on the same street or building block as households that meet the requirements for ECO4 help, and these properties may also be eligible for support. These measures are known as in-fill.

Separate rules apply for in-fill flats and houses. For every flat that meets the ECO4 eligibility criteria, one in-fill flat can be treated in the same block or building. In-fill flats can receive solid wall insulation, district heating system connection or cavity wall insulation.

Meanwhile, for every three houses treated by the ECO4, one in-fill house on the same street can be treated. These properties will be eligible for solid wall insulation or district heating system connection.

More money-saving tips from BOXT

For more tips on making your home more energy-efficient on a budget, check out everything you need to know about boiler grants in our blog. Here, you’ll find information about additional funding, like the Boiler Upgrade and Warmer Homes Scotland schemes. 

Additionally, if you’re interested in pursuing renewable energy, take a look at our guide to solar panel grants.


Share this post