East Renfrewshire households benefit from scheme to reduce heating bills

Thousands of households in East Renfrewshire have installed heat-saving measures under the scheme.
Thousands of households in East Renfrewshire have installed heat-saving measures under the scheme.

Hundreds more households in East Renfrewshire are benefiting from a government scheme to help people save money on their heating bills and reduce carbon emissions, despite a drop off across Britain.

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) aims to help people at risk of fuel poverty by making energy firms install heat-saving measures such as insulation and more efficient boilers.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy data shows that 5,763 homes in East Renfrewshire have had improvements made since the scheme began in 2013.

Of these, 1,215 benefited from the project in 2018-19, compared to 463 in 2016-17, the earliest year with comparable data.

The increasing pace of uptake in East Renfrewshire bucks the trend across Britain – the number of homes improved with ECO measures dropped by 36 per cent in just two years, to 146,348.

A recent parliamentary report said that funding for ECO had halved in recent years, from an original budget of £1.3 billion per year to just £640 million.

Jessica Ralston, from industry body the Sustainable Energy Association, said: “Energy efficiency should be a priority for the Government moving forwards.

“It is the first essential step in reducing carbon emissions from our buildings, and can make living and work spaces warmer and more comfortable, and reduce consumers’ energy bills.”

The most common upgrades under ECO in Britain are for cavity wall insulation (35%), loft insulation (23%) and boiler upgrades (22%).

The Energy Saving Trust, which promotes energy efficiency, said it was concerned about the low rate of installations.

Head of policy David Weatherall said: “It’s vital that energy suppliers are making the maximum effort to meet their ECO targets, and that Government and Ofgem are supporting and requiring the suppliers to do so.”

A BEIS spokesperson said: “We’ve shifted the focus of the ECO scheme to ensure it is now entirely focused on helping the poorest out of fuel poverty, with support for low-income households increasing from £310 million a year in 2015 to £640 million a year up to 2022.

“On top of this, we’re protecting 11 million households from rip-off deals through our energy price cap and helping two million low-income households get money off their winter energy bills.”