Notices from SEAI relating to COVID-19 crisis

Last updated 7th April

The Government’s intent during the delay phase of COVID-19 is to ensure an appropriate balance in the protection of public health while limiting economic and business disruption in as much as possible. These are unprecedented times for everyone. On foot of the guidance from the Department of Health / HSE, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) have put measures into place to protect its employees and to help minimise the spread of the virus. This also means that SEAI will continue to operate the fullest levels of services possible to our clients and suppliers.

There is no suspension or restriction on SEAI grant assisted programmes. Normal operations clearly will be impacted, and the supply-chain are required to abide by the guidance of the HSE in relation to social distancing, protection of vulnerable groups and internal gatherings. A risk-based approach is necessary involving the homeowner consent in order to proceed.

Please continue to take every precaution necessary to protect yourself, your staff and the clients you interact with.

7th April 2020

For the moment be assured:

 

  • Considering the Government’s stay at home instruction, SEAI believes that, in general, grant aided energy retrofit works, BERs for grant aided works and discretionary BERs are all not essential.
  • SEAI will continue to process all new grant applications for future works and grant payment requests for works already completed.
  • To ensure no additional impact on our valuable suppliers, our accounts team will continue to process all invoices speedily, and in accordance with standard payment terms. Likewise, our procurement team will continue to issue purchase orders for all required services to facilitate ultimate payment.
  • SEAI’s Building Energy Rating administration system is fully available for assessors to upload ratings and for persons to check specific property ratings online.
  • Other regulatory aspects of our work as administration of Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme and Market Surveillance Authority continues.
  • SEAI’s call centre remains open to answer any additional queries you may have
  • Client advocacy programmes through our energy efficiency network supports are temporarily affected because of social distancing. However, we remain available and will introduce alternative approaches as demand dictates.
  • SEAI is not able to advise any service provider in respect of special or additional precautions to take in conducting their own business, beyond those available from the HSE.

In this current exceptional environment, we are continually reviewing our Programmes to see if there are other ways by which we can assist our customers and the public in general.

Like any organisation, SEAI anticipates some reduction in capacity in the coming weeks arising from illness, isolation / quarantine requirements or other consequences of COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, this may result in some delays in responding to enquiries or processing transactions. Our dedicated teams will do their very best to minimise the impact for our clients and suppliers.

Please continue to take every precaution necessary to protect yourself, your family and loved ones and anyone you interact with.

From the CEO and team at SEAI.

3 April 2020

This information is for contractors, installers, suppliers and service providers undertaking activities within SEAI funded or administered schemes. This includes:

  • Home energy grants*
  • Solar PV grants
  • Deep retrofit pilot scheme
  • BER assessments**
  • Community energy grants

*Separate guidance has issued to contractors completing works under Warmer Homes and Warmth and Wellbeing schemes.

**Separate guidance has also issued to BER assessors

On foot Government guidance in respect of the COVID-19 emergency, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is fully implementing measures to protect its employees and to help minimise the spread of the virus. All SEAI staff are now working from home and we will continue to operate the fullest levels of services possible to our clients and suppliers.

On Friday 27 March, the Government issued strict guidelines for people to stay at home until Easter Sunday, 12 April. Staying at home is the best way to minimise the risk of COVID-19 to your friends, families and communities. The full guidance is available here.

  • Considering the Government’s stay at home instruction, SEAI believes that, in general, grant aided energy retrofit works in private homes are not essential
  • Whereas the Government’s instruction allows for services to businesses and homes on an emergency call-out basis in areas such as electrical, plumbing, glazing and roofing, this is solely a matter for homeowners and contractors to separately decide. SEAI cannot adjudicate on such situations
  • SEAI will continue to process all new grant applications for future works and grant payment requests for works already completed.
  • In the situation that retrofit works have commenced then it is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the property is left in a safe and habitable state.
  • SEAI is not able to advise any service provider in respect of special or additional precautions to take in conducting their own business, beyond those available from the HSE.

30 March 2020

SEAI will accommodate the potential impact on the solar PV scheme as follows:

2019 Applications
These installations were due to be completed by 28 February and the documentation submitted to SEAI by 31 March. We recognise that the requisite Building Energy Rating (BER) may not be completed by the end of March and so will make the following changes:

  • Please submit all installation documentation (NC6, REC Certificate 3, Commissioning documents, photos, etc.) by the 31 March
  • The BER should be submitted as soon as practicable after 31 March

2020 Applications
SEAI remains open for applications; letters of offer are valid for eight (8) months and currently do not anticipate that they will be impacted by the restrictions.

We will continue to monitor the situation and advice from the government and keep you up to date on the scheme.

If anyone has any queries, please contact us at 01-808-2100 or solarpv@seai.ie

3rd April 2020

On foot Government guidance in respect of the COVID-19 emergency, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is fully implementing measures to protect its employees and to help minimise the spread of the virus. All SEAI staff are now working from home and we will continue to operate the fullest levels of services possible to our clients and suppliers.

On Friday 27 March, the Government issued strict guidelines for people to stay at home until Easter Sunday, 12 April. Staying at home is the best way to minimise the risk of COVID-19 to your friends, families and communities. The full guidance is available here.

Considering the Government’s stay at home instruction, SEAI believes that, in general, Building Energy Ratings are not essential. This opinion is expressed in respect of BERs for grant aided works or discretionary BERs commissioned by property owners.

BER Assessments for Grant Claims
In response to the restrictions in place, SEAI is temporarily suspending previous requirements to furnish a valid BER at time of grant claim. SEAI is considering the implications of this on a programme by programme basis and will put in place appropriate alternative governance controls. These may include requirements for subsequent provision of BERs once restrictions are lifted, withholding a proportion of the grant amount due (including a BER grant where applicable) or a combination of both these measures. These decisions will be communicated directly to affected applicants and stakeholders. These new arrangements will facilitate appropriate grant payments to homeowners and contractors while also maintaining appropriate BER obligations. These provisions aretemporary and currently only apply up until 12 April in accordance with Government restrictions.

BERs required for property conveyancing / transactions
All queries regarding BER requirements for property sale or rental should be directed in the first instance to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

BER Assessor Exam
Prometric exam centres are now closed until further notice. For those who have exams booked, Prometric will be in contact in due course to advise when you can reschedule your exam free of charge.

As previously communicated, SEAI have extended the exam renewal date to 31th August 2020 for all assessors who currently have an exam renewal date between 1st March and 30th June 2020 and have yet to sit their exam.  All assessors with an exam renewal date within this timeframe should have received an email confirmation that their exam date has been extended.

If you have not received this confirmation email and feel that you should have, please get in touch with the BER helpdesk.

Auditing
All audits will proceed as desk audits until further notice. No documentation and practice site audits will be conducted during this period. Where you have a specific difficulty in completing an audit, you can contact your auditor to discuss alternative arrangements.

BER Systems
SEAI’s online systems will continue to be available to facilitate the publication of BERs by assessors and making them available online for property transaction / conveyancing purposes.

Helpdesk queries
The BER Helpdesk will continue to operate as usual. If you have any queries, the BER Helpdesk can respond to any questions you may have.

Please continue to take every precaution necessary to protect yourself, your staff and your clients. Should you have any queries on any of the above guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact the BER helpdesk.

Best regards,

SEAI BER Team

30 March 2020

We are already hearing how the crisis is impacting on the research and innovation community nationally and internationally. We understand that there may be unavoidable impacts and delays to SEAI supported research and innovation projects. In such cases SEAI will try to work pragmatically and practically with you to offer flexibility on a case-by-case basis in relation to the following items:

  • Deadlines for technical and financial progress reporting: The most recent reporting deadline was the end of February 2020. Payments are currently being processed for all awardees based on the technical and financial progress reports submitted. The next financial progress report/claim deadline will be the 31 August 2020. We encourage projects with upcoming project completion deadlines or other concerns to please contact us with any queries. In advance of the next financial progress report/claim deadline, to support organisations that are experiencing cashflow issues SEAI is temporarily facilitating more frequent financial reporting. Please contact us on email below if you wish to avail of this.
  • No-cost Time Extensions: No-cost time extensions will be offered on a flexible case-by-case basis. Please refer to the Grant Amendment Request Form for details of how to request a no-cost time extension – available to download in the Programme Documents section of our website here.
  • Project Cost Category Reallocations: please refer to the above Grant Amendment Request Form for details of how to request a reallocation.
  • Restructuring of project milestones or deliverables and associated timelines: Proposed restructuring can be detailed and requested within your next financial progress report in August 2020.

We are available to answer any queries you may have on the above via email to EnergyResearch@seai.ie or directly with your known project contact point in the SEAI RD&D team. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible and can speak with you over the phone if helpful.

Please also refer to the SEAI website for any further updates.

Best wishes,
The SEAI RD&D Funding Programme Team

12 March 2020

To date, SEAI has been monitoring and adhering to all relevant Government guidelines regarding Covid-19 and the likely impacts on The Energy Show 2020. The health and wellbeing of our visitors, exhibitors and staff is of the utmost importance and as the situation progressed, we listened carefully to the concerns of all parties.

The Government today (Thursday 12th March) announced that indoor gatherings of more than 100 people will not be permitted, with this restriction staying in place until March 29th. Acting in accordance with this instruction SEAI is cancelling The Energy Show 2020.

We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation and will liaise with all affected stakeholders, partners, suppliers, organisations and prospective participants.

30th March 2020

On Friday 27 March, the Government issued strict guidelines for people to stay at home until Easter Sunday, 12 April. Staying at home is the best way to minimise the risk of COVID-19 to your friends, families and communities. The full guidance is available here.

Reflecting the guidance, SEAI is updating our guidance to contractors working on the SEAI Warmer Homes and Warmth & Wellbeing schemes. This guidance is effective from today, Monday 30 March, and applies to ALL homes assigned to contractors i.e. homes designated as ‘Works Accepted’ or ‘Awaiting Variations Agreements’.

  1. Homes where works have not yet commenced:
    Where works have not yet commenced, pre-work surveys and works should be postponed until after 12 April, at which time this guidance will be reviewed.
  2. Homes where works have already commenced, are almost complete or are requiring reworks:
    Where works have already commenced on a home, are almost complete or are requiring reworks, remaining works should now be postponed until after 12 April, at which time this guidance will be reviewed.

Where such works are being postponed, it is your responsibility to ensure that the property is left in a safe and habitable state before postponement.

2 April 2020

Dear SEAI ocean prototype development fund awardee,

On foot Government guidance in respect of the COVID-19 emergency, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is fully implementing measures to protect its employees and to help minimise the spread of the virus. All SEAI staff are now working from home and we will continue to operate the fullest levels of services possible to our clients and suppliers.

We understand that there may be unavoidable impacts and delays to SEAI supported ocean energy research projects. In such cases SEAI will try to work pragmatically and practically with you to offer flexibility on a case-by-case basis in relation to the following items:

  • Time Extensions: Time extensions will be offered on a flexible case-by-case basis. The grant amendment request form is available on request. Please email Ocean.Energy@seai.ie if you require a form.
  • Project Cost Category Reallocations: As per above, please request the Grant Amendment Request Form for cost reallocation.
  • Restructuring of project milestones or deliverables and associated timelines: Proposed restructuring can be detailed and requested within your progress report.

Please note that increase in project cost will not be considered as part of this amendment process. All change requests must be within original budget envelope of your project.

We are available to answer any queries you may have on the above via email to Ocean.Energy@seai.ie or directly with your known project contact point in the SEAI Ocean team. We will do our best to respond as quickly as possible and can speak with you over the phone if helpful.

Please also refer to the SEAI website for any further updates.

Best wishes,

The SEAI Ocean Team