Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – Local Authority Flexible Eligibility (LA Flex) Guidance Notes for Residents

What is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO)?

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is an obligation on energy suppliers to support households to cut their energy bills and reduce carbon emissions by installing energy saving measures. It is aimed at households who are living in fuel poverty, on a low income and vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home.

What is Local Authority Flexible Eligibility (LA Flex)?

Part of the ECO allows Councils to set their own criteria to determine which households are supported.  This is known as LA Flexible Eligibility and allows residents to be offered measures who wouldn’t usually be entitled to grant funding.  Funding is only available to private tenure households (i.e. private rented sector and owner occupiers. Social and Local Authority housing is excluded from flexible eligibility).  

What measures are available?

Depending on available funding the measures deliverable can be:

  • cavity wall insulation
  • loft insulation
  • inefficient heating replacements
  • solid wall insulation
  • internal wall insulation
  • under floor insulation

How can I check if I am eligible?

Sandwell Council has published a Statement of Intent that details the eligibility criteria for Sandwell households. 

Have many residents been successful?

A previous scheme similar to this ran from March 2018 to June 2022. Many measures have successfully been installed in Sandwell homes. 

Who pays for the measures?

Funding for energy improvements under the scheme is awarded by energy companies and administered by agents or installers working on behalf of the energy companies. They collect residents’ details, perform home energy surveys and arrange works for successful applicants. Please note that the final decision on whether funding is available will be made by the energy suppliers and is based on the following factors:

  • the survey carried out and installation costs
  • the energy savings that can be achieved by having the work done
  • whether suppliers have funding available at the time of application

How do I know if the company is legitimate?

A number of contractors are currently operating within the borough.  Companies may contact you by telephone, e-mail, door knock, letter or leaflet. The Council is not able to endorse or recommend a particular company, but would advise that if you are approached by a company that you check for proof of identification. Please ensure that you that you ask for proof of identification.  If you are unsure of their legitimacy then please contact the Council on 0121 569 5396/5169.

How will I know if my property is eligible for any measures?

If you are interested in receiving energy efficiency improvements, the installer will check that you and your home meet the scheme’s eligibility criteria. They will also arrange for a survey of the property to be carried out looking at such things as the age of the boiler, existing insulation measures in place and the number and size of the rooms.

Householders will be asked to complete a short application form that the installer will submit to Sandwell Council in order to determine household eligibility and approval.

It is most important that you do not feel pressurised to provide incorrect information. If you feel this is the case, please let us know as soon as possible by calling 0121 569 5396/5169. Please remember that you will be signing to confirm that you have answered all questions honestly.

Will I have to make a financial contribution towards the works?

Measures are often installed free of charge. In some cases, however, particularly for more expensive works, you may be required to make a financial contribution.  In all cases where a contribution is necessary the installer will advise you in advance the of amount.

Please note you are under no obligation to proceed with the installation at this stage.

Who do I contact if I have any issues with the work?

Any grievance or issue regarding the works or the application process, should be taken up initially with the installer.

What involvement does Sandwell Council have?

Sandwell Council’s involvement is to check that the householder meets the qualifying criteria and to issue something called a Declaration to the installer.  The Council is not responsible for awarding the funding, appointing a contractor or installing the measures.

Sandwell Council accepts no responsibility, or liability resulting from any damage or loss arising from ECO4 LA Flex applications. Neither does it endorse any specific energy supplier, installer or company connected to the application or installation of ECO4 LA Flex grants or measures.

Is the scheme regulated?

This scheme is regulated by Ofgem and any concerns or complaints should be referred to Ofgem.
Email:   Tel: 020 7901 7295