Green campaigners unhappy with ECO changes
Cuts to the ongoing Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) have attracted the ire of green campaigners across the UK.
Unveiled as part of the chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement this week, ECO is set to be replaced from 2017 with a new “cheaper” alternative, but campaigners have highlighted concerns that the move could lead to many low-income households losing out, the Guardian reports.
At present, ECO requires the UK’s Big Six energy providers to spend a fixed amount on providing home insulation, new boiler systems and green energy solutions to the nation’s poorest homes.
This is paid for through a green levy that currently adds around £47 per year to the average household energy bill.
However, under the new scheme this levy will be scrapped and replaced with an as-yet undetermined new initiative. the fact that the current ECO scheme predominantly helps those from the poorest backgrounds is the main concern for campaigners in its loss.
The average saving for households that have taken part in ECO to date amounts to approximately £300 per annum in lower energy costs.
This equates to more than £1.1 billion a year, but the government is expected to announce a scaled-back alternative that would deliver benefits of around £400 million.
Responding to the chancellor’s Autumn Statement announcement, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council Julie Hirigoyen commented: “The chancellor was keen to emphasise the government’s green credentials ahead of [the recent climate change talks in Paris], but they are going backwards on one of the most cost-effective opportunities – improving the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock.”