£50m ECO Grant Funding to Save Families Money and Create Jobs

4 May 2013

Families in Southampton and Hampshire could see energy bills fall by £250 per year as the council looks to utilise a new Government scheme.

Under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), the Government is offering funding to improve the energy efficiency of properties across the United Kingdom.

Southampton City Council is looking to secure £50m of that funding to make energy efficient improvements – including Cavity Wall Insulation, Loft Insulation, and improving outdated heating systems – in up to 21,000 homes in the region.

About the Energy Company Obligation

The ECO was implemented by the Government at the beginning of the year in a bid to reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency, and reduce energy bills across the country.

Alongside the Green Deal, the Government hopes its latest initiatives will help reduce the number of families living in energy poverty. Estimates suggest as many as nine million homes could be in fuel poverty by the end of 2016.

It has been estimated that some eight million homes to could benefit from Solid Wall Insulation, six million from Cavity Wall Insulation, and nearly six million from Loft Insulation. Projects carried out under the ECO – like the one Southampton City Council is planning – could reduce these numbers.

Cutting the Cost of Fuel Bills

By installing Loft Insulation, Cavity Wall Insulation, double glazing, and improved heating systems, households can see the cost of the energy bills fall drastically. Cavity Wall Insulation alone has been estimated to save £135 per annum.

“Energy efficiency isn’t just good for the environment,” Southampton City Councillor Warwick Payne told the Daily Echo.

“It’s also good for peoples’ pockets as well, by reducing their fuel bills.”

Under the proposed scheme, 21,000 local homes could be improved over the next two to three years.

Payne, a Labour councillor for Housing and Sustainability, is looking at “making Southampton’s housing fit for the future.”

The city’s council has recently completed a scheme that saw £15m spent on improving energy efficiency in Weston, a suburb of Southampton. The scheme is reported to have created £250 of energy bill savings for those properties improved.

Creating New Jobs

In addition to saving householders money on their fuel bills, Southampton City Council also hopes that utilising funding from the ECO will also create jobs and benefit local business.

The council is reporting that approximately 300 existing jobs would be safeguarded under the scheme. It also reports that between 590 and 760 new jobs could be created.

These new jobs would include Cavity Wall Insulation and Loft Insulation installers. This in turn could create opportunities for colleges to offer skills development within the insulation sector.

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