The Affordable Warmth Scheme of the Energy Company Obligation has a lesser known element called Local Authority Flexible Eligibility or LA Flex. LA Flex enables Local Authorities to grant fuel-poor households outside of the current benefits system, Affordable Warmth measures.
A large majority of respondents agreed with this proposal. A few written responses which agreed with the proposal caveated that LAs needed to be sufficiently supported, as installers and trade associations noted that LA capacity to engage in ECO varied. Additionally, greater auditing and reforms were welcomed to improve the targeting of ECO4 Flex, especially in the case that 50% of the obligation could be delivered via this route.
Local Authorities can do this thanks to LA Flex’s In-fill mechanism. Basically, local authorities can make households in an area eligible for certain affordable warmth grants by making a declaration that the homeowners or tenants there are either:
- Living in fuel poverty.
- Vulnerable to the effects of living in a cold home.
- Living in a building adjacent* to properties that match the criteria above.
*Properties are considered adjacent to one another if they are:
Same Building – Multiple properties in the same structure (e.g.block of flats).
Immediately Adjacent Buildings – Structures that are physically joined or separated by an alleyway, footpath, parking space, side garden or fence.
Same Terrace – A row of houses that are part of a continuous structure.
Affordable Warmth in-fill mechanism
ECO4 will continue to be focussed on low income and vulnerable or fuel poor households in band D-G homes. To support households on the lowest incomes, as proposed, households in receipt of means tested benefits will be eligible. As consulted, we will allow up to 50% of the obligation target to be met under the reformed ECO4 Flex, which is designed to target households on low incomes, but not in receipt of benefits.