News | Published on 26th Apr 2018

Government have listened- First time central heating to be prioritised under the Energy Company Obligation

The Heating and Hotwater Industry Council (HHIC) has today responded to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consultation on the next phase of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO 3), which offers a range of proposals to aid fuel poor households and enhance the energy efficiency of Britain’s housing stock.

HHIC is pleased that Government have listened to industry calls for first time central heating to be prioritised under the Energy Company Obligation. Further, it recognises that the boiler cap and focus on insulation, introduced under ECOT2, did not reduce fuel poverty.

With fuel poverty impacting nearly 2.5 million households, and mortality rates associated with cold homes being extremely high (cold housing kills over four times as many people as road and rail accidents each year), it is vital that the scheme focuses entirely on the delivery of affordable warmth, thus reducing fuel poverty.

Stewart Clements, Director of HHIC, said:

“The overall change in direction outlined in the ECO3 consultation reflects what industry have been saying for quite some time – demonstrating that the pressure put on the government to address the UK’s endemic fuel poverty is beginning to work.

Proposals to limit the replacement of all broken heating systems to the equivalent of 35,000 per year marks a step in the right direction in comparison to the 18,000 cap implemented under ECOT2. However, there could be more ambition here - the HHIC estimates that there are around 9 million inefficient ‘zombie boilers’ in the UK that cost consumers more and emit higher levels of carbon dioxide than modern condensing boilers. Our statistics reveal that the installation of a new condensing boiler can cut energy bills by around a third. With the current fuel poverty gap around £300 per year, the savings a new boiler can elicit could lift households out of fuel poverty.”

He added:

“The installation of first time central heating systems and the replacement of ‘zombie boilers’ can lift people out of fuel poverty, and, more importantly, keep them out and it’s encouraging to see Government are beginning to listen to industry on this.”

The HHIC’s response to the consultation can be found here.