Some of the UK's poorest households are being failed by one of the government's flagship carbon reduction initiatives, according the national installer network Futureproof.
Under the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme, the 'Big Six' energy suppliers are expected to invest around £1billion a year to provide almost 250,000 low income homes with free A-rated boilers and insulation. However, according to Futureproof, thousands of boiler installations are being delayed because of the lack of a robust system to administer the process.
Gas heating engineers are also being hit, the network has claimed, with many going unpaid by approved Green Deal providers for jobs they have completed, or finding forms they have submitted for potential boiler replacements being rejected.
Adam Mitchell, a director of Futureproof, which was launched last year to help people take advantage of the ECO scheme, called on the government to urgently review the way ECO was being implemented. He listed a number of key issues that need to be addressed, including:
ECO is the grant-funded element of the Green Deal and the cost of the boilers is met by the 'Big Six' energy suppliers including British Gas, E.ON, Scottish Power, Npower, SSE and EDF.
If someone owns their home or is a private tenant they could be eligible for a 100% grant to pay for a new boiler. The boiler would be installed by a Gas Safe Registered Boiler installer. For consumers to qualify for an ECO grant, they must be in receipt of at least one of the following benefits:
If the person receives Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance or Income-related Employment Support Allowance, one extra condition must also apply as follows:
For those in receipt of Working Tax Credit, one of the following must apply: