The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a Government designed scheme intended to reduce the UK's energy consumption and support those living in fuel poverty, by requiring energy suppliers to provide households with energy efficiency improvements. ECO was launched in January 2013 to support those in or at risk of fuel poverty and to provide insulation for harder to treat properties.
Part of these ECO funds (known as the Carbon Saving Communities obligation, CSCo) are being used to target areas of low income, particularly in rural settlements with a population size under 10, 000.
Last year Wiltshire Council identified 795 households in Marlborough that are in fuel poverty using a range of indicators, including age and type of dwelling, also wealth, health and age of householder. Since Marlbrough's population is less than 10, 000, you may be surprised to learn that the only areas of Wiltshire that can benefit from CSCo funding are in Swindon, Salisbury and Trowbridge!
Unfortunately the Department of Energy and Climate Change is using a much narrower set of indicators than WC to target those eligible for CSCo funds, namely those households in receipt of welfare benefits, defined as being in 'the bottom 15% of Lower Super Output Areas from the Indices of Multiple Deprivation'. Other important indicators such as the age of the property and being off the gas grid have been ignored.
Claire Perry MP has invited us to meet the Energy Minister, Gregory Barker, when he visits Marlborough early in 2014. We intend to use this opportunity to present the Minister with a series of case studies of local residents who are living in 'hard to treat' homes, in an effort to improve their access to CSCo funds. If you know someone who could benefit from this excercise please contact Sam: firstname.lastname@example.org