Flexible eligibility statement of intent - Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
Our statement of intent shows how we engage with energy suppliers to identify households that would benefit from energy efficiency improvements.
Local Authority Flexible Eligibility Statement of Intent Energy Company Obligation: Help to Heat
Uttlesford District Council
1 November 2021 - Version 1
Fuel poverty can cause vulnerable and low income households to live in cold, unhealthy homes that are expensive to keep warm and increase levels of debt. Uttlesford District Council welcomes the new local authority Flexible Eligibility powers for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Affordable Warmth grant funding as a means to help address this issue.
This will allow Uttlesford District Council to provide affordable warmth assistance to fuel poor and low income households that are vulnerable to the effects of the cold.
Further details about Flexible Eligibility are set out in the government's Energy Company Obligation (ECO): Help to Heat1consultation response document.
9.7% of households in the district are classified as being in fuel poverty. House condition surveys carried out in 2015 show that a significant proportion of the older building stock is in off gas locations, with 24% not on the gas grid.
Many private sector dwellings and private rented dwellings are estimated to have an EPC rating below E.
These district statistics are coupled with ageing population demographics that exacerbate health issues and emphasise the need to address fuel poverty and cold homes.
It should be noted that the final decision on whether any individual household will benefit from energy saving improvements rests with obligated energy suppliers or their contractors. Inclusion in a Declaration of Eligibility issued by the council to a supplier will not guarantee installation of any works that may help reduce fuel poverty. The final decision will depend on:
- identification of measures eligible under Help to Heat
- the supplier's assessment of the cost effectiveness of installing measures in relation to achieving its obligation
- whether the supplier has achieved their targets or require further measures to meet their Energy Obligation targets
ECO Flexible Eligibility funding is available to private sector households, including owner occupiers and private tenants In identifying households as eligible under Flexible Uttlesford District Council is seeking to enable residents to benefit from funding and will obtain consent from households before including them in a Declaration.
Uttlesford District Council expects any obligated energy supplier or contractor working on their behalf to comply with the Data Protection Act, to fully follow OFGEM requirements for the Energy Company Obligation Help to Heat and to act in accordance with industry best practice in relation to consumer care and quality standards of any works that may take place. These are covered in a separate memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the council and the obligated party.
Uttlesford District Council will identify households that may benefit from flexible eligibility in a number of ways.
Firstly by identifying fuel poverty. Private tenure households must fit one or more of the following:
- living in fuel poverty but not in receipt of benefits
- living in high cost home in relation to energy use
- low income and vulnerability to cold (LIVC)
These qualifying values will be kept under review, in relation to levels of referrals made, delivery of installed measures and the practices of other authorities.
Set out below are the criteria for both living in fuel poverty but not in receipt of benefits and low income and vulnerability to the cold.
a. Criteria for identifying 'living in Fuel Poverty, but not in receipt of benefits'
For those living in private tenure the following will be assessed:
- if the household does not receive any income related benefit and has an income of £30,000 or less (after paying for rent/mortgage and Council Tax), then the household will be identified as "low income"
- the council will cross reference data which they hold in their House Condition Surveys or can access on Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)/SAP ratings
- low income households living in energy inefficient housing in the private rented sector will be identified through enforcement activity under the Housing Act 2004
- households will be considered to be at risk of fuel poverty if they are in a high cost home in relation to fuel use:
- high cost - property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D, E, F or G
- one characteristic of fuel poverty or a hard-to-treat home - mainly families, child under 16 resident in the household, vulnerable elderly, over the age of 65, living in a hard to treat home property that has solid walls, non-standard cavity walls, system built walls or has no loft
b. Criteria for identifying low income and vulnerability to cold
The council will target households containing people with the following characteristics, which reflect the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2015 guidance on excess winter deaths and illness caused by cold homes.
Specifically these have one or more members who are:
- older people (aged over 60 and particularly those over 75)
- dependent children of 18 years or younger
- people with respiratory / cardiovascular conditions
- people with long term or terminal illness
- people with mental health conditions
- pregnant women
- people who have attended hospital due to a fall
- people with disabilities
- people who move in and out of homelessness
- recent immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees (if living in private tenure)
Any referral or enquiry received that does not meet the above requirements will be considered on a case by case basis.
Uttlesford District Council will ensure appropriate referral processes are in place while maintaining the protection of personal data. Uttlesford District Council will work with partner agencies to determine those that may be vulnerable due to living in a cold home, suffering from a qualifying medical condition.
Uttlesford District Council will record key information including the number of referrals made and the number of funded installations delivered for reporting both to BEIS and future Home Energy Conservation Reports.
This statement of intent (SOI) is signed on behalf of Uttlesford District Council by:
Environmental Health Manager, Uttlesford District Council