ECO4 FLEX FOR FREE CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS, FREE AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS, EXTERNAL WALL INSULATION and a whole lot more!
A NEW TYPE OF GRANT – LA FLEXIBLE FUNDING
Okay, so you are not in receipt of benefits and DWP allowances no longer qualify. Hopefully, we can find another way.
There is in fact, only one pot of money for ECO Grants, and that is called HHCRO funding, and it can only be accessed by those in receipt of a Government benefit.
However, in 2018 the Government decided to put 25% of that pot of money aside, and called it the “Local Authority Flexible Fund“ (LA Flex) . Under the new grant scheme (Eco4) started August 2022, the ECO4 Flex pot has been increased to 50%.
Eco4 funding is £1 billion per year, so £500 million per year is available for LA flexible funding. So LA Flex is a very important part of ECO4
It is not local authority money, the Local Authority sets some of the qualifying criteria required to access that money. In ECO3 Local Authorities had a lot more control of the criteria, but in ECO4 the Government has standardised most of it. So, there won’t be a great deal of difference across all of the local authorities.
When you apply for LA Flex, we complete an application form for that Local Authority. We send it to them and they check that it complies with their criteria. If it does, they sign it off and return it to us.
You can find out if you qualify for LA Flex by visiting this page.
We can then submit that document to draw down the funding.
The ECO4 Flex scheme is not obligatory – the Councils don’t have to take part in it. Based on ECO3 – some will, some won’t and some might.
Under the old LA Flex scheme, it was possible to qualify for a grant in Carmarthenshire for example, but not in Pembrokeshire. And that could have been less than a mile apart, just depending on your postcode. That shouldn’t happen so much under the ECO4 LA flex.
But what’s worse, is that some local authorities don’t even take part.
Their normal excuse is that they don’t have the human resources. County Councils get paid about £50 to £150 (the price is set by the Council itself) for “signing off” each LA Flex application. The fee is paid by the installer. Plymouth Council charge a whopping £300 per application.
This was a problem under ECO3, but there might be a solution under ECO4.
The UK Government have decided to allow the devolved Governments of Wales and Scotland to have an “LA Flex”. So, that will cover local authorities such as Newport and the Vale of Glamorgan (who never took part under ECO3), and allow residents of those areas to access LA Flex. However, the Welsh Government are way behind, and may not be ready until June 2023.
Do I qualify for LA Flex?
The criteria is flexible, using a number of factors to qualify, such as the energy rating of the property, the ages of the occupants and the health of the occupants. But benefits are not required.
Qualifying rules for LA Flex
Under ECO4 there are 4 routes to qualify for LA Flex, and these are set out below.
Don’t be worried if your property does not have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), we will take care of that.
Household Income Households living in EPC bands D, E, F and G and with a gross income less than £31,000. This income cap applies irrespective of the property size, composition or region and is from all sources of income.
Proxy Targeting Households living in EPC bands E, F, and G and that meet a combination of two of the following proxies: (Proxies 1 & 3 cannot be used in combination with each other).
- Proxy 1) Homes in England in Lower-layer Super Output Area 1-3 (LSOA)7, or homes in Welsh provision LSOA 1-3 on the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2019. We can answer this for you, call us on 0800 8 10 10 60. We are preparing a list of the 40,000+ postcodes that qualify in Wales alone, and this will be available shortly.
- Proxy 2) Householders receiving a Council Tax rebate (rebates based on low income only, excludes single person rebates)
- Proxy 3) Householders vulnerable to living in a cold home as identified in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guidance.
- people with cardiovascular conditions
- people with respiratory conditions (in particular, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and childhood asthma)
- people with mental health conditions
- people with disabilities
- older people (65 and older)
- households with young children (from new‑born to school age)
- pregnant women
- Proxy 4) A householder receiving free school meals for low income,
- Proxy 5) A householder supported by a LA run scheme, that has been named and described by the LA in their Statement of Intent as supporting low income and vulnerable households for the purposes of NICE Guideline,
- Proxy 6) A household referred to the LA for support by their energy supplier or Citizens Advice because they have been identified by the referrer as struggling to pay their gas and electricity bills,
- Proxy 7) Households identified through supplier debt data. This route enables obligated suppliers to use their own debt data to identify either Non Pre-Payment meter households (non-PPM), or Pre-Payment meter households (PPM).
Non-PPM customers: These are customers who have been in debt for more than 13 weeks and are in a debt repayment plan with their energy supplier or repaying their fuel debt through 3rd party deductions. –
PPM customers: Suppliers may also identify PPM households who have either self-disconnected or received supplier Discretionary/Friendly credit within the last 13 weeks; or are in a debt repayment plan with their energy supplier; or repaying their fuel debt through 3rd party deductions.
Households in EPC bands D, E, F and G and identified as low income and vulnerable, with an occupant whose health conditions may be impacted further by living in a cold home.
These health conditions may fall under one of the four umbrella conditions:
· A cardiovascular condition,
· A respiratory disease,
· Limited mobility or,
Under this route you can be referred by your GP.
If you qualify under this route, please contact us on 0800 8 10 10 60
Route 4 is where a Local Authority proposes a “method of qualification”, which is then submitted to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for approval.
At this moment in time (9/8/22) no local authority in Wales has a live Route 4. We are aware that some local authorities in Wales have submitted proposals but have not yet received any response from BEIS or Ofgem.
We will keep this page updated.
UPDATE: We have been informed today (17/8/22) by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that “Route 4 will not be available until the end of the year”.
It is possible that the rules for Route 4 will vary between local authorities.
Which Welsh Councils are taking part in ECO4 Flex?
The 22 Councils of Wales are listed below, in alphabetical order. It also indicates as to whether they do, don’t or might take part in the L A Flex scheme.
- Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council LA Flex – MightC
- Bridgend County Borough Council – Might
- Caerphilly County Borough Council LA Flex – Yes – BUT see note 1 below
- Cardiff City Council LA Flex – Might
- Carmarthenshire County Council – Yes – BUT see note 2 below
- Ceredigion County Council LA Flex – YES
- Conwy County Borough Council LA Flex – YES
- Denbighshire County Council – YES
- Flintshire County Council – YES
- Gwynedd Council – YES
- Ynys Mon County Council – YES
- Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council – Might
- Monmouthshire County Council LA Flex – Might
- Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council LA Flex – YES
- Newport City Council LA Flex – Yes – BUT see note 1 below
- Pembrokeshire County Council – Yes
- Powys County Council – YES
- Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council LA Flex – Coming Soon
- City & County of Swansea L A Flex – YES
- The Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Council– Might
- Torfaen County Borough Council LA Flex – Might
- Wrexham County Borough Council – Might
In Caerphilly and Newport Councils there is very little chance of getting LA Flex at all!
It is only being offered to “rural off gas” properties. And then you have to qualify. They have only 1 installer to cover both authorities. The installers will be “cherry picking” – doing the biggest properties first, for the big profits. The smaller properties will be told that they don’t qualify, but that isn’t true – the fact is that those jobs don’t make BIG profits – and won’t get done!
We are sure that over time the local authorities will see what is happening, and maybe make some changes. We really hope so.
We believe that the local authorities were “hoodwinked” and saw an easy option.
We are awaiting Ofgem’s response with regards to the how the LA Flex is being run within theses local authorities.
Again, we suggest that you complain to both Ofgem and your local authority. Although the local authorities are a part of the problem by allowing this to happen, they could have stopped it as Rhondda Cynon Taf did.
We also understand that 2 other local authorities are under an Ofgem investigation as how their LA Flex is being administered.
We will update this post as and when we receive further information.
CARMARTHENSHIRE have announced that they have “pulled” route 3.
Route 3 is the route that refers to medical conditions. This means that probably the most affected group of society to living in a cold home have been victimised.
We have sent an email to Ofgem to get clarification as the whether this victimisation of the ill and elderly residents of Carmarthenshire is even legal.
You can question it with Ofgem as well, and if you don’t think this is fair, then you can call or email to complain to the Carmarthenshire council. The person you need to speak to is Graham Harries. If you have also complained to Ofgem let him know.
Give us a call now on 0800 8 10 10 60 or 07960 799681 and speak to an expert adviser