Stephen Crabb is warning Ministers that changes to a national scheme to help low income families with heating could penalise rural households who use oil for heating.
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a scheme designed to provide free energy saving measures to eligible households in England, Wales and Scotland. 1,440 households in Preseli Pembrokeshire have benefitted from the scheme so far. However, the UK Government wants to change the scheme to promote renewable energy and has proposed that it should no longer repair or replace oil boilers.
Responding to the Government consultation on the scheme, Mr Crabb highlighted that many households in Pembrokeshire are dependent on oil heating and, should their oil boilers break, would not be able to receive help with repairs under the ECO scheme. Many of the other alternative heating systems offered by the scheme are far more expensive to run.
“Although the Energy Company Obligation scheme was designed specifically to help households who might be struggling with their energy bills, these proposed changes could lead to increased energy costs for people in rural areas who rely on oil-fired heating.”
“I understand why Ministers want to use the scheme to promote low carbon energy but they need to be realistic about the very high dependency on oil in rural communities. I have requested a meeting with the Minister to ensure my constituents in this situation are not penalised when the changes to the scheme are finalised.”