Could the new British Gas efficiency tool help you save hundreds of pounds on bills? Or is it a gimmick?
How does the British gas tool work?
The tool works via a questionnaire, which asks you basic questions about your financial situation and your home to fit you in to one of three categories - low income, living in a hard-to-treat home or potential Green Deal customer.
Here's how it works:
First, provide your postcode and flag up whether you are currently on any benefits.
If the answer is yes, you will be sent to another page letting you know that you could be eligible for free insulation under the ECO.
It then provides you with a number to call, or you can request a call-back, to fin out more and see if you qualify for a free survey of your home.
If your answer is no, you will be asked several questions to find out if you could have a 'hard-to-treat home' under another part of the ECO. Again you could be eligible for a free survey.
If you don't qualify for either, you will be directed to a page with an explanation about the Green Deal. You can also organise an assessor visit for £129.
For an explanation of what the Green Deal and ECO offer, see the box below.
WHAT DO THE GREEN DEAL AND THE ECO OFFER?
The Green Deal allows households to pay for energy efficiency improvements using a loan they later repay through their energy bills.
As part of the incentive's golden rule, the savings you make on your fuel bills through any improvements should not be outweighed by the loan repayments you make through your bill - but this is not guaranteed.
The improvements can also be self-financed but the scheme allows those that sign up to claim cashback on some improvements.
For example, simple draught-proofing measures will earn £50, double or triple glazing could make you up to £320 and solid wall insulation pays as much as £650.
Energy Company Obligations
The ECO is split into three different schemes which are all funded by money from the 'big six' energy providers.
The Affordable Warmth Obligation funds improvements such as boiler replacement and repair, and insulation for those that qualify through means testing.
The Carbon Saving Obligation helps fund insulation on internal, external and hard-to-treat cavity walls where the costs would be cripplingly expensive.
Under the ECO there is also a Carbon Saving Communities Obligation, which aims to provide 100 per cent funding for insulation for the bottom 15 per cent most deprived and rural areas in the UK.
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