The government has published its response to the consultation on the Energy Company Obligation (3), 2018 to 2022.

In the response, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) states that the ECO3 scheme, which will run until March 2022, will focus entirely on low income and vulnerable households, with a focus on reducing fuel poverty in the UK.

Particularly notable is the decision to abandon plans to immediately include the Each Home Counts (EHC) quality mark as a route for compliance. The response said: "The government has decided that ECO3 will not initially include the EHC quality mark as a route for compliance.

"Although there is strong support for the scheme to include the quality mark, we have taken into account respondents' comments that there should be a clear transitional arrangement to ensure the EHC scheme is fully developed before including it as part of ECO and that industry should have sufficient time to become compliant. This also takes into account the expected timings of quality mark implementation."

The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council has released a comment on the consultation response. Stewart Clements, Director at the HHIC, said: "The industry has been waiting for the response the ECO3 consultation since it closed in May this year. There is always a period of trepidation whilst we wait to see if industry views have been taken into consideration and, in this case, it appears they have listened, and taken a pragmatic approach to oil boilers in rural fuel poor homes. We will be interested to see if this has an impact on the Clean Growth Strategy as the response appears to imply that oil boilers were being phased out.

"We are particularly pleased that the government has accepted the HHIC view that it is too early to insist that all new installations are accredited by the Each Home Counts review, especially as it is not actually up and running, nor have the requirements been agreed. We are pleased that the new ECO scheme will be launched without requiring Each Home Counts compliance.

"We look forward to working with BEIS and the industry on delivering this new ECO scheme“

BEIS received 239 responses to the consultation from a variety of stakeholders ranging from large energy suppliers and trade associations to individuals with an interest in energy efficiency and fuel poverty. You can view the full response to the consultation here.