Intro To Eco Grants
The Government Funded Eco Grant Schemes for Heating & Insulation has been around for over 20 years in 1 shape or another and many thousands of people on low income benefits have enjoyed upgrades at little or no cost.
Without this useful spending of public money, many homes would still be in fuel poverty and be suffering increasing fuel bills on a yearly basis.
The Scheme is still ongoing for 2021 with Eco funding being aimed at a whole house approach with heating & insulation being upgraded at the same time in order to maximise carbon savings and meet government climate targets.
Who Benefitted From This Scheme?
Ofgem stipulated that people on low income benefits and disabled people (homeowners or private tenants) that were in fuel poverty should benefit from heating & insulation upgrades as they would not be able to afford the required costs involved which could run into thousands of pounds.
Some boilers and storage Heaters particularly those in rental properties were in desperate need of replacement but many landlords were unwilling to invest in such a large purchase and so these properties had massive heating bills for their tenants.
This scheme was probably the only opportunity that many tenants had to upgrade their old heating.
Have You Applied For Grants In The Past and Not Been Successful?
The criteria for grant eligibility is very strict with the government changing the goal posts quite regularly over the years.
The government do set out strict guidelines which have to be met by all applicants in order to enable access to public money.
Sometimes these rules are very unfair but there does not seem to be an appeals process and very little consultation either unfortunately.
Some Little Known Facts about the Scheme
- There have been probably thousands (possibly over 100,000) of failed applications for a Grants over the last 10 years.
This is a lot of surveys carried out for no reward.
- As A Rough Estimate ( Based on my 8 years’ experience in the industry ) Only 1 in 8 grant applications in the UK results In A Successful Install.
This means that there are thousands of household surveys undertaken every year which do not result in any benefit for the installers or applicants.
- All People Working On These Schemes Are Usually Self Employed And Are only Paid On Successful Installs – No Install = No Payment
Wasted Time On Surveys
All applicants will have gone through what is quite a very intrusive process.
- Have provided access to their personal details including name, address, dates of birth and provided benefits letters etc.
- Have filled in all the necessary paperwork.
- Have allowed surveyors into their property to measure up and taken photos of all their rooms and lofts
No Communication On Survey Results
In many cases a lot of clients had all the surveys and then …………………….SILENCE.
It does seem that many Eco companies have falled shy of informing the client of a failed application and the client is left wondering.
Many are reluctant to have the difficult conversation with the client especially as they know the client is going to be very unhappy.
It is little wonder that lots of people do believe that these grants are a scam and who can blame them.
Why Do Applications Fail?
Many applicants are found not to qualify usually because:
- They do not receive a qualifying benefit.
- They live in a non-qualifying property – i.e social housing , housing association, charity owned home ,
- Funding restrictions based on the property type & number of bedrooms.
- Age of heating to be upgraded is too new.
- Cherry Picking by installers – unprofitable jobs sent to the back of the queue or were quietly deleted.
- Eco Installer is of poor quality. Enough said.
Grant Applications Failures
This is guide to the most common grant applications made in the UK that fail to make it to fruition.
The list is not exhaustive.
Heating Grants — Common Failures
At the time of writing there is little or no funding for the following heating measures.
Lots of applications for these measures are being rejected or put to the back of the queue.
- Oil boilers
- LPG boilers
- Warm Air Heating
- Back boilers
Boiler Grant Scheme – Common Failures
- Boiler age – either to new or too old
- No longer free with customer contributions set too high.
- People requiring certain brands of boilers or upgrades for free.
- Property type has low funding – flats, mid terraced, maisonettes, park homes, other small ones.
- Property unable to have underfloor insulation or other insulation measure.
First Time Central Heating Failures – Common Failures
- Applicant has had central heating fitted in the past.
- Property does not have gas in the area
- Low funding restrictions which require a customer contribution.
- Property is not adequately insulated.
Storage Heater Applications – Common Failures
- Storage Heaters are present in the property when the funding is geared to the exchange of electric room heaters. Customer contribution required.
- The applicant is expecting all existing heaters to be changed but government funding is quite specific as to how many heaters will be funded for exchange due to newer ones being more efficient.
Loft Insulation – Common Failures
- Existing insulation is above 100 mm
- Loft is full of junk
- Loft has been over boarded
- Loft is damp
- Loft has no access hatch.
People who are working in the Grants industry will always try to pick the most profitable jobs so any future schemes need to be well thought out to prevent this happening again.
This policy resulted in the best paying installs being put to the front of the queue while the not so profitable went to the back of the queue or were quietly deleted.
Consultation with those at the sharp end, including lead generators and installers should be on the agenda next time please.
Conclusion – The Scheme Does Need a Rethink.
The Eco grants schemes have always been about Reducing carbon emissions to assist government statistics and not about helping people in fuel poverty.
The funding therefore reflects this and so the larger the house and more carbon it emits, the larger the grant awarded.
This means that in effect those, who can afford to live in a large house will be prioritised and while those in small houses had to go without!
Until Ofgem & BEIS change their policy regarding smaller properties, it will be more of the same unfortunately.
If you are interested in any of the home improvement grants currently available :
First Time Central Heating
Boiler Grant Scheme
Storage Heater Scheme
Free Home Insulation