ECO3: ECO Scheme Updates

The Energy Company Obligation scheme (ECO) launched in January 2013 and is a government initiative to decrease carbon emissions and fuel poverty. Large energy suppliers have set obligations under the energy scheme that are determined by their domestic energy market. These energy suppliers partner with installers to increase energy efficient measures in homes – these measures include loft and wall insulation and heating systems.  

The current ECO scheme ends on 30 September 2018. ECO3 is the latest change to the scheme and will take effect on 1 October 2018 running through 31 March 2022.

ECO3 is a shift from other ECO policies for it focuses solely on low income and vulnerable households through the Affordable Warmth Scheme.

What Impact Has ECO Had?

Since the initial launch in January 2013, 2.3 million energy efficient measures have been installed in homes across the UK. The scheme has aided 1.8 million homes.

With the new ECO3 changes, 6.6 million homes are eligible for support for energy-saving measures.

How is ECO3 Different?


  • Has a sole focus on low income, vulnerable to cold and fuel poor households – meaning households that cannot afford the cost of energy efficient measures.
  • Aims to diversify the homes receiving benefits. Under the new scheme, 15% of supplier obligations need to take place in rural homes.
  • Encourages use of new, innovative heating systems.

Benefits remain the primary way of identifying homes eligibility for ECO, with the addition of child and disability benefits, but ECO3 also expands availability to low-income homes not receiving benefits. ECO3 increases the authority for local authorities to identify in-need households and set requirements through Local Authority Flexible Eligibility.

What is the Local Authority Flexible Eligibility?

Under ECO, local authorities can set their own measures for funding eligibility – in what is called Local Authority Flexible Eligibility. Work Work recommends looking into your local areas requirements as well as the UK ECO requirements. Under ECO3, 25% of suppliers obligations should be met through Local Authority Flexible Eligibility. So there is an increased need to meet the local guidelines.

In October, updated guidelines for Flexible Eligibility will be released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Can I qualify for ECO3 and RHI?

The installation of most technology available through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) does not qualify you for ECO3. Only with the installation of ground source heat pumps can you receive RHI payments as well as ECO help.