Q: How will the COVID-19 pandemic impact our Energy Efficiency programs? (6/9/2020)

A: Since the suspension of on-premise energy efficiency work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc., a respected health & safety consulting firm, has collaborated with several energy efficiency market actors, contractors, and health & safety specialists to identify opportunities where certain minimum health & safety guidelines will support the safe implementation of certain efficiency work completed on-premise.

Health and safety guidelines have been developed for the residential on-premise services, including those services that involve customer contact. The NH Utilities will treat these guidelines as minimum requirements to resume on-premise work. All contracted vendors and trade allies will be required to demonstrate knowledge of and compliance with these guidelines before being authorized to resume any on-premise work. All work will be done in adherence to both these third-party safety protocols, as well as any incremental compliance protocols required by local governments or that the contracted vendor itself has put in place.

Safety protocols have also been developed for C&I, Multifamily and Residential on-premise work and for on-premise work that involves customer contact.  Trainings related to C&I and Multifamily work were made available on June 2, 2020. Trainings related to interior Residential and C&I work involving customer contact were made available on June 11, 2020. The most recent health and safety guidelines for on-premise work involving customer contact replace all previous versions of guidelines. Please refer to the Contractor Resources page to access these guidelines and trainings.

Q: What health and safety guidelines are being developed? (Updated 6/30/2020)

A: Since the suspension of on-premise energy efficiency work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc., a respected health & safety consulting firm, has collaborated with several energy efficiency market actors, contractors, and health & safety specialists to identify opportunities where certain minimum health & safety guidelines will support the safe implementation of certain efficiency work completed on-premise.

Health and safety guidelines have been developed for the residential on-premise services, including those services that involve customer contact. The NH Utilities will treat these guidelines as minimum requirements to resume on-premise work. All contracted vendors and trade allies will be required to demonstrate knowledge of and compliance with these guidelines before being authorized to resume any on-premise work. All work will be done in adherence to both these third-party safety protocols, as well as any incremental compliance protocols required by local governments or that the contracted vendor itself has put in place.

Safety protocols have also been developed for C&I, Multifamily and Residential on-premise work and for on-premise work that involves customer contact. Trainings related to C&I and Multifamily work were made available on June 2, 2020. Trainings related to interior Residential and C&I work involving customer contact were made available on June 11, 2020.

Health and safety guidelines have been modified to include:

  • Alternative requirements regarding Level 3 PPE.
  • An addendum detailing PPE requirements for non-installation work. This primarily applies to vendors completing upstream, sales, non-residential energy auditing, technical assessment (TA) or evaluation work.
  • An addendum outlining alternative clothing requirements to coveralls and a new requirement to disinfect footwear or wear boot covers.

These guidelines and the alternative requirements replace all previous versions of guidelines.

As a component of these efforts, the New Hampshire Utilities are implementing a new procedure for employees of contracted vendors who test positive for the COVID-19 virus and experienced symptoms within 48 hours of visiting a customer’s home or business. Vendors are now required to inform their Utility contact if an employee tests positive and tell the employee that they must fully cooperate with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in order to enable DHHS to perform any necessary contact tracing. To aid in the contact tracing effort, we have developed a customer contact log, that will need to be completed by an employee’s supervisor and will identify all customer locations an employee visited 48 hours prior to experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Please refer to the Contractor Resources page to access these guidelines and trainings.

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 6/9/2020)

A: All on-premise work that cannot be delivered from both the exterior and unoccupied spaces must continue to be suspended.  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: Will customers be able to move forward with any efficiency activities during this time? (Updated 6/9/2020)

A: Available energy efficiency services include:

  • Upstream offerings
  • Retail rebates
  • Active Demand Response
  • Trade ally driven C&I incentives
  • Virtual Assessments
  • On-premise services that can be delivered from an exterior/unoccupied space

Q: What if a customer would like to move ahead with work in their home despite the suspension? (Updated 6/9/2020)

A: The safety of our customers and contractors must take precedence during this time. Services may only resume if the timelines and safety guidelines outlined above are followed. Resumption of services must follow the timelines and safety guidelines outlined above.

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 to make the home safe.  All necessary precautions must be taken to minimize any exposure with the customer. Additionally, on-premise work that can be delivered from exterior or unoccupied spaces of a building may resume. All other in-home and on-premise work that does not meet these criteria is 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? (Updated 5/5/2020)

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 contact 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? (Updated 5/5/2020)

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: 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? (Updated 6/11/2020)

A: In addition to the health and safety program guidelines from Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc., 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