Have you heard about boiler grants and are wondering if you qualify for the latest ECO4 boiler scheme?
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme is an initiative set up by the government, together with the UK’s largest energy companies to help vulnerable households upgrade their heating system i.e. their boilers.
As of 2023, the ECO scheme is now referred to as ECO4 as this is the fourth round of funding to date.
The ECO scheme is one of two boiler grant schemes active in the UK, the other is known as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).
Who qualifies for a boiler grant in the UK?
The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO4) Scheme is a Government and Energy company initiative that was set up with a few major goals, these are as follows:
- To improve the energy efficiency of UK households.
- To help reduce fuel poverty.
- To make energy and therefore home heating more affordable.
In short, the ECO3 scheme allows some of societies most vulnerable households to apply for a grant to replace their old or inefficient boiler for free in order to help them reduce their heating bills in the long term.
The big energy companies involved with this scheme are British Gas, EDF Energy, and Npower, among others.
What do you need to qualify for a free boiler grant?
In order to qualify for a boiler grant, also referred to as the ECO programme, you need to meet the following criteria:
- The applicant must be the property owner e.g. not a landlord.
- The current boiler in the property must be at least 8 years old.
- The property must be connected to the mains gas supply.
- The applicant must be in receipt of a qualifying benefit.
What type of benefits are accepted?
As mentioned, in order to qualify/be entitled to a government boiler grant, you will need to be in receipt of certain qualifying benefits, this includes the following:
- Pension Credit Guarantee Credit Element
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Tax Credits
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- War Pensions Mobility Supplement
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Child Benefit*
*If you claim Child Benefit we will need to ask some additional questions to check if you qualify.
If you are currently in receipt of any of the benefits listed above, you may be entitled to a boiler grant, but bear in mind there may be other income thresholds you have to meet.
What are the income thresholds?
In order to be entitled to the ECO grant funding for a new boiler, you must also fall within any of the following income thresholds:
If you are a single claimant:
- One child – £18,500.
- Two children – £23,000.
- Three children – £27,500.
- Four or more children – £32,000.
If you are claiming as a couple:
- One child – £25,500.
- Two children – £30,000.
- Three children – £34,500.
- Four or more children – £39,000.
Which energy companies are involved?
As mentioned the ECO funding scheme or boiler grant scheme is operated in conjunction with both energy companies and the government.
The energy companies currently operating the scheme include the following energy companies:
- Avro Energy
- Bristol Energy
- British Gas
- Co-operative Energy
- Economy Energy
- EDF Energy
- Extra Energy
- Flow Energy
- Green Network
- Green Star
- Octopus Energy
- OVO Energy
- Pure Planet
- Scottish and Southern Energy
- Scottish and Southern Energy
- Scottish Power
- Shell Energy
- So Energy
- Spark Energy
- Utility Warehouse
- Utility Warehouse
How do you apply for a boiler grant?
If after reading the above criteria you think you may be entitled to a boiler grant, you can apply for one by contacting your current energy supplier.
Typically, they should have already alerted you to your entitlement, but if not, the quickest way to find out if you are eligible is to contact them directly to find out.
If you are the next stage of the process is to get a consultation from one of their representatives.
They will then ask you all necessary questions and carry out a full survey of your home to find out exactly what is required.
Which other free boiler schemes are available?
If you are not eligible for the Government ECO3 scheme, then it is worth checking if you meet the criteria for other schemes such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, or the Affordable Warmth Obligation initiative.
As well as helping to replace boilers, this scheme can also help with repair costs and home energy efficiency upgrades, for example, updates to the insulation in your home such as adding insulation to the loft or cavity walls.
For this scheme, as well as the criteria mentioned above, typically applicants must also have a household income of less than £20k per year in order to be accepted.
This scheme is also available to pensioners who live in social housing, as long as the boiler in question has an energy efficiency rating of either E, F, or G.
What size boiler is right for your home? If you are thinking about a combi boiler, it is largely determined by the number of radiators in your home. Check out our complete guide to new boiler installation here if you are wondering about the best type of boiler for your home.
Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)
As previously mentioned, the ECO3 scheme is one of two forms of boiler funding available in the UK. The second is the BUS.
The BUS scheme provides grants to encourage property owners to replace existing fossil fuel heating systems with low carbon, more efficient heating systems.
These include ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, and biomass boilers in limited circumstances.
The scheme operates similarly to the Green Homes Grant Scheme. The government contributes a fixed sum towards the upfront costs of low carbon heating technologies, and the property owner pays for the rest.
The scheme opened for grant applications on 23rd May 2022 and will run up to 2025 with a £450m funding confirmed for the three years.
You’ll benefit from a 0% VAT rate on the purchase and installation of the low carbon heating technologies.
Winter Fuel Payments
Another scheme that is available to pensioners is the Winter Fuel Payments that are paid out to those above 65 years old to help financially with heating bills.
To be eligible, you either need to get the state pension or another type of social security benefit.
The scheme offers between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. In 2019-2020, around 11.4 million people received this payment in the UK, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland.
If you are eligible for this initiative, you should be contacted automatically, but it is worth checking with your supplier if you have not received any help.
Rent a Boiler Scheme
The rent a boiler initiative is a scheme that many energy companies are now offering to allow you to pay for a new boiler in affordable instalments.
Whilst this will not save you any money and could cost you extra in interest over a period of time, it is an option for those who are unable to replace their boiler upfront but could afford the monthly repayments comfortably – especially if you do not qualify for any of the Government schemes.
If you want to learn about the best way to heat your conservatory, you may want to check out our guide on which electric heater is cheapest to run, you may be surprised to find out that it is not a halogen heater.
Who qualifies for a boiler grant Conclusion
If you have an old boiler that is nearing the end of its life or you are currently without heating, then it is well worth applying for the ECO3 (now ECO4 scheme).
If you don’t think you will be eligible for the ECO scheme, you may want to consider the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS).
It’s also worth mentioning that boilers on finance schemes are also available, these are offered by some boiler installation companies and allow you to spread the cost of a new boiler over several years, enabling you to pay for your boiler in monthly increments.