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Citizens Advice response to the BEIS consultation on the design of the ECO+ scheme (2023-2026)

22 December 2022

Citizens Advice response to the BEIS consultation on the design of the ECO+ scheme (2023-2026) [ 250 kb]

6 December 2022

Dear ECO+ consultation team,

We welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy, and within our response we will be only answering the questions that are relevant to our remit. Our response is non-confidential and may be published on your website. 

Energy crisis and energy efficiency

Soaring energy bills, due to the rise in the price of wholesale energy, has led to many households struggling this winter. Many are rationing their energy use, or disconnecting from their energy supply because they can’t afford to top up their prepayment meter. By the end of October 2022, we had already helped more people unable to afford to top up their prepayment meter than for the previous 5 years combined. 

Even with the Energy Price Guarantee capping unit rates, giving an average bill of £2500 this is simply unaffordable for many even before the Energy Price Guarantee rises in April to £3000 for an average bill in 2023. Households will need enduring support to make sure they can afford to heat their homes.

We welcome the focus on energy efficiency, which has the potential to deliver bill reductions for households for decades. Our recent research found that households in the most efficient homes could save up to £950 a year if their homes were upgraded to an EPC rating of C. 


Many households who have not struggled previously with their energy bills are experiencing hardship this winter, and would not qualify for the government’s fuel poverty scheme ECO. 

We welcome the creation of a scheme that aims to reach a wider group of households to help them improve the energy efficiency of their home, and sustainably reduce their energy bills. 

However, we note that the scale of the scheme could be far more ambitious to tackle the scale of inefficient housing in the UK. The government has committed £1bn spread across 3 years, with a target of  reaching 410,000 households. This is despite industry calls for a far more ambitious scheme, and with expected supply chain capacity able to deliver measures equivalent to £1bn a year. 

Furthermore, while there are advantages to pursuing a single-measure approach, as it will likely deliver at faster pace and larger scale, it could risk undermining the aims of ECO4 to deliver a whole-house approach to homes in fuel poverty.  Homes that would be eligible for ECO4 and a whole-house retrofit, should be treated by ECO4 instead.