Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme aims to help residents who are living in fuel poverty, on low income, and vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home.

It is a government energy efficiency scheme to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty, it is led by the private sector, not the council.

In addition to this, there is a degree of flexibility which allows Local Authorities to refer households to suppliers for support, by using a new 'flexible eligibility' mechanism (ECO Flex). This is referred to as the Help to Heat Flexible Eligibility Criteria.

We have set our own criteria, aimed at those who are most likely to be in fuel poverty with occupants on low incomes and vulnerable to the effects of cold homes, and who otherwise would not be eligible. Properties must be owner-occupied or privately rented.

Energy companies can deliver up to 25% of their full obligation within these criteria. We will work with energy companies and their authorised installers to maximise the use of flexible eligibility.

It must be noted however, that fitting within the Statement of Intent does not guarantee that any individual household will benefit from energy saving improvements as the final decision will rest with the individual private sector suppliers and this will depend on:

  • The survey carried out by the energy company or their authorised installer and installation costs calculated;
  • The energy savings that can be achieved for a property; and
  • Whether energy companies have achieved their ECO targets or require further measures to meet their ECO targets.

The measures deliverable through ECO Flex are as follows:

  • cavity wall insulation
  • loft insulation
  • inefficient heating replacements
  • solid wall insulation

Not all boilers or insulation measures are free of charge, and we recommend getting quotes from more than one company.

​In order to access this funding, local authorities are obliged to publish a ‘Statement of Intent’.

The Darlington Flexible Eligibility - Statement of Intent ECOFLEX, update in March 2019, is available to download and view below:

Darlington Flexible Eligibility - Statement of Intent [pdf document]

We also have a separate ECO3 Help to Heat Flexibility Eligibility Statement of Eligibility [pdf document], agreed jointly by the five Tees Valley local authorities, for the specific purpose of delivering the Warm Homes Fund programme