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Q: How will the COVID-19 pandemic impact our Energy Efficiency programs? (Updated 5/5/2020)
A: The Governor of New Hampshire has declared a state of emergency and governments, schools, businesses and citizens are all taking action to limit interaction and spread of the virus. Due to this serious and quickly evolving situation, we have announced significant impacts to multiple elements of the 2020 Energy Efficiency programs. While energy reductions achieved by the energy efficiency programs help improve long-term public health, the emerging and immediate COVID-19 pandemic concerns facing our communities must take precedence. Updated: April 2, 2020: The NH Utilities continue to closely monitor COVID-19 developments and impacts. Given updated state and federal communications and guidance provided over the last few days, the NH Utilities continue to believe that the currently in-place suspensions of on-premise contracted vendor activities will remain in place for the foreseeable future, and at least until May 4, 2020. We urge our implementation partners and contractors to take this reality into consideration in rescheduling customer appointments. During this time, the NH Utilities remain committed to working with our partners and other stakeholders to develop and implement mitigation strategies (including shifting work to remote / virtual delivery mechanisms) where possible and appropriate. We would also urge all partners to review our list of Contractor Resources for additional information about state and federal resources available to support the business community and impacted employees during this difficult period. Updated: May 5, 2020: The Governor of New Hampshire has extended the general Stay-at-Home Order through May 31, 2020. Suspension of on-premise contracted vendor activities will remain in place through that date. Contractors can contact the utility regarding waivers for existing commercial jobs. The NH Utilities are working with partners and outside experts on protocols for implementation activities and will provide updated information when it is available.
Q: Will this directly affect In-Home and On-Premise Visits?
A: The New Hampshire Utilities are temporarily suspending any non-essential work and appointments that require a contracted vendor to enter a customer’s home (“in-home”) or business (“on-premise”) or come in close, physical contact with other individuals.
Q: What’s the difference between a contracted vendor and a trade ally?
A: A contracted vendor has been fully vetted, has a signed contract with the Utilities or one of its contracted vendors and is working under their discretion and at their direction. A trade ally is a company working through a prescriptive or upstream rebate/incentive program and operating solely under a direct contract with the customer, not a Utility. Work by trade allies is performed solely at their own discretion subject to mutual agreement between them and the customer.
Q: Does this include appointments already scheduled? (Updated 5/5/2020)
A: All visits through at least May 31, 2020 must be rescheduled. We are working to develop unique ways to work collaboratively during this time, while still following necessary safety procedures and practices and continuing to seek guidance from the State, the Public Utilities Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services, local Boards of Health, and other trusted sources.
Q: When can we expect to resume In-Home and On-Premise Visits (NEW 5/5/20)?
A: We will communicate an official date to recommence in-home and on-premise services when, based on guidance from state and local public health officials, we feel it is appropriate to do so. We want to be able to resume services as quickly as possible. We plan to work with public health experts and officials to determine when we can safely resume services and will provide updates as we have more information.
Q: What mitigation efforts are being considered (NEW 5/5/20)?
A: Considering the suspension of on-premises work, we are looking for ways to assist contractors in order to support their continued workforce and mitigate the impact of COVID-19-related work slowdowns and stoppages.
Q: Will customers be able to move forward with any efficiency activities during this time? (Updated 5/5/20)
A: During the temporary suspension of on-premise services, the Utilities plan to continue all other energy efficiency services, including:Upstream offerings
- Upstream offerings
- Retail rebates
- Active Demand Response
- Trade ally driven C&I incentives
- Virtual Assessments
Q: What if a customer would like to move ahead with work in their home despite the suspension?
A: The safety of our customers and contractors must take precedence during this time. We are unable to pay incentives associated with in-home services during this period. This includes work associated with a weatherization contract.
Q: How do we handle projects that are partially completed?
A: In the event that a building is open to the environment or left unsafe, then the contractor can return with prior approval of the customer and the Utility contacts to make the home safe. All necessary precautions must be taken to minimize any exposure with the customer. All other in-home and on-premise visits are temporarily suspended.
Q: What can we do about equipment left on-premise prior to the temporary suspension of onsite services?
A: Contact your Utility contacts who can assist you with issues related to incomplete jobs.
Q: Will pre- and post-inspections still be conducted (NEW 5/5/20)?
A: We are not conducting any in-home or on-premise inspections, however we are researching and discussing alternatives and will post updates here. Please reach out to your utility contacts if you have ideas or suggestions. For C&I customers, we are allowing the use of “Virtual” pre- and post-inspections subject to certain conditions. This includes projects involving equipment that is prescriptive in nature and simple to confirm. Additionally, the inspection must be completed safely by the customer/owner using camera/video equipment they themselves provide. For complete details regarding eligibility, please reach out to your Utility contact.
Q: Are Technical Assistance (TA) studies still being conducted?
A: If the TA firm is a contracted vendor with one of the Utilities, all on-premise work is suspended until further notice, but any analysis or other work that does not require an on-premise visit can and should continue. If the TA firm is not a contracted vendor, all work is done at their discretion, subject to mutual agreement between them and the customer.
Q: Are refrigerator pickups permitted, as long as the refrigerator is left outside?
A: Yes, provided there is no customer contact. The vendor should ensure all recommended precautions are being taken regarding social distancing.
Q: Can exceptions be made for refrigerator repair/replacements or specific heating/hot water replacements in case of emergency (e.g., medicines and food needing refrigeration)?
A: Please confirm with your Utility contacts in advance. We are allowing emergency appliance and heating/hot water replacements that may affect occupant health for Home Energy Assistance program customers.
Q: Can delivery be made on a product that has been purchased and shipped to a business location that is not staffed (NEW 5/5/20)?
A: For contracted vendors, all non-essential work and appointments that require a contracted vendor to enter a customer’s home or business are suspended. For trade allies, this is subject to their discretion, as long as it is mutually agreeable and the customer and vendor are comfortable taking all precautions.
Q: Is there an official notice to send to customers?
A: We are currently developing customer-facing FAQs and will share when available. In the meantime, the email that was sent out from the Utilities can be used to inform customers of the issue.
Q: Will Utility employees working remotely create any delays in processing payments?
A: We are working remotely and all have access to our systems, so we do not foresee any delays. We can pay all projects that are partially complete. Invoice the measures that have been installed, and we can initiate a second phase when the suspension is lifted.
Q. If a customer is having difficulty paying their EE loan (Heat Loan, Small Business Energy Efficiency Loan), who should they contact (NEW 5/5/20)?
A. Residential, Commercial and Industrial customers who are unable to make their energy efficiency loan payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic should reach out to their respective loan servicer to discuss what options may be available. Commercial and Industrial customers that participate in bill repayment programs (i.e., Small Business Energy Efficiency Loan) should reach out directly to their Utility’s customer service department.
Q: Where can I go for the most up-to-date decisions on efficiency projects?
A: We continue to work closely with our state and local partners and will be providing frequent updates to this FAQ page.
Q: Where can I find health and safety guidelines?
A: We advise that you follow the health and safety guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html
Q: Who can we contact if we have pressing questions on a specific project?
A: Please reach out to your Utility contacts if you have questions about specific projects and cannot find an answer within this FAQs document.