Flexible eligibility statement of intent - Energy Company Obligation (ECO)

This statement of intent shows how we engage with energy suppliers to identify households that would benefit from energy efficiency improvements.

Contents

- Introduction

- Flexible eligibility

- Referrals

- Evidence, monitoring and reporting

- Governance

 

Local Authority Flexible Eligibility Statement of Intent Energy Company Obligation: Help to Heat

Uttlesford District Council

April 2022 - Version 0.2

 

Introduction

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 local authority Flexible Eligibility powers for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Affordable Warmth grant funding, to help address this issue.

Further details about Flexible Eligibility are set out in the government's Energy Company Obligation (ECO): Help to Heat 1 consultation response document on GOV.UK.

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.

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.

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.

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
     

Flexible eligibility

ECO Flexible Eligibility funding is available to private sector households, including owner occupiers and private tenants. 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.

Eligible households will be identified by the householder, a contractor working on behalf of the energy company or by Uttlesford District Council by meeting the following criteria.

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.

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.

 

Referrals

Uttlesford District Council will ensure appropriate referral processes are in place while maintaining the protection of personal data. We will work with partner agencies to verify eligibility and to obtain consent from householders before including them in a Declaration of Eligibility.
 

Evidence, monitoring and reporting

The collection and verification of personal data to evidence eligibility, will be undertaken by the contractor working on behalf of the energy supplier.

This will include:

  • proof of income related benefits
  • proof of disability benefits
  • proof of qualifying age
  • medical related qualifying criteria e.g. a supporting letter from your GP, specialist
  • 2 most recent bank statements showing mortgage or rent payments
  • EPC Band D or below - this information will be taken from the national register

A sample of at least 5% of applications will be audited to help prevent and detect fraud. Where this takes place more detailed information will be required concerning the application.

Uttlesford District Council will record key information including the number of referrals and the number of funded installations delivered for reporting both to BEIS and future Home Energy Conservation Reports.
 

Governance

The below named representatives will have authority to sign-off Local Authority declarations within their respective districts. A delegated officer may sign off declarations in their absence.

Andy Luck
Senior Environmental Health Officer, Uttlesford District Council

Theresa Marlow
Grants Officer, Uttlesford District Council

This statement of intent (SOI) is signed on behalf of Uttlesford District Council by:

Peter Holt

Chief Executive, Uttlesford District Council