The Emergency Central Heating Offer (ECHO) was developed as an emergency solution to help vulnerable households who find themselves without heat and hot water due to boiler breakdown.
Generous funding - £2 million - from five energy suppliers (British Gas, npower, ScottishPower, Shell Energy and SSE) meant that we were able to run the service again from September 2018 to the end of March 2019, and at double the scale of the previous year.
During this period, we were able to intervene in 1,176 emergency no-heat situations, repairing or replacing boilers and heating controls quickly and without cost to residents. Along with the immediate help provided, ECHO was able to save residents £14.9 million on their energy bills. Our ECHO team worked closely with 26 local authority and charity partners to identify households that needed emergency assistance.
Mrs C was referred to ECHO by Bury Council. Along with a series of health conditions including fibromyalgia and Addison’s disease, Mrs C receives child tax credit and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) as her income is less than £24,000 a year. She has a child aged 17 in fulltime education.
At the time of her referral, Mrs C had no heating or hot water. Her boiler was very old, with no new parts or recent repairs. The pilot light was out and it had started to leak water and other fluid.
The ECHO call centre immediately called Mrs C as soon as it received her details from Bury Council. Mrs C was a prime candidate for an emergency boiler replacement. The ECHO team put Mrs C directly in touch with one of the ECHO installers who arranged a home survey. The installers booked the installation date and arranged to fit the boiler within 10 days of the referral from Bury Council.
At the end of its scheme year, ECHO achieved a benefit to cost ratio of 5.2:1 which is outstanding value for money. Our funders have duly recognised this and have yet again demonstrated their commitment to ECHO by confirming their funds for a third round of the scheme. From the feedback received during our regular quality assurance checks, we know that the support ECHO is able to provide to households has been truly life changing for some.
With increased funding we hope to widen the availability of this support to help the most vulnerable households as soon as they need it.
"I’m so, so grateful and everyone in all departments have been wonderful. Roz at ECHO was very helpful and wonderful to talk to and the engineer was cheery and polite. I can't thank ECHO enough for having a warm home again and can't wait to have a hot bath.”
- Mrs C, Manchester
Our team’s extensive knowledge and experience, along with our strong partner network enable us to plan, manage and source funding for energy efficiency and carbon reduction projects. We’ve built and delivered some of the largest and most successful energy efficiency programmes in the UK.