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COVID-19 Information for Contractors

COVID-19 Latest Information, Q&As, and Resources
 

Information from Eversource, CNG, SCG and UI regarding Energy Efficiency Program Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

COVID-19 - Energy Efficiency Update

The Companies continue to work in coordination with public health experts and officials and members of the contractor community to discuss how contractors can resume services as quickly and safely as possible. We must continue to make safety the highest priority.

Please see the FAQ and other relevant links below.

COVID-19 CARES Act Webinars

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was passed and signed, and includes a variety of federal programs with substantial resources to help you continue making payroll, paying rent, and providing health benefits.

DEEP, Eversource Energy, United Illuminating, DECD, and Connecticut Green Bank, are co-hosting several webinars regarding the CARES Act. Please join us for any of the following three webinars:

Additional Resources:

Learn how these programs can help you and your business manage through challenging times.

COVID-19 Contractor Resources

State of Connecticut Resources:

The State of Connecticut COVID-19 resources, general:

Governor Lamont is telling Connecticut residents to "Stay Safe, Stay Home." All non-essential workers statewide are being directed to work from home, effective Monday, March 23 at 8:00 p.m. For the latest information, resources, executive orders, and guidance related to coronavirus (COVID-19), visit CT.gov/coronavirus.

State of Connecticut COVID-19 resources and Guidance for businesses and nonprofits:

Businesses and nonprofits seeking guidance related to Governor Lamont's "Stay Safe, Stay Home" executive order, directing all non-essential workers statewide to work from home, are urged to read the guidance provided by DECD at Portal.CT.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-for-Businesses/Coronavirus-for-Businesses
The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development has created a COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit dedicated to assisting businesses navigate resources and develop new resources. A dedicated phone line is available at 860-500-2333 to provide assistance to Connecticut's small businesses for this purpose.

State of Connecticut Shared Work Program:

The Department of Labor offers a Shared Work program as a smart alternative to a layoff. The program allows employers to reduce the hours of full- time employees by as much as 60 percent, while their workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages. All employers with two or more full-time or permanent part-time employees can participate in the program, which is not designed for seasonal separations. To qualify, the business’ reduction of work cannot be less than 10 percent or more than 60 percent.

State of Connecticut Waiver of Unemployment Work Search Requirements:

View the announcement regarding the work search requirements being waived by Connecticut Labor Commissioner at CTDOL.state.ct.us/COVIDFAQWorkSearchRequirements.pdf
Please direct your employees to FileCTUI.com and click the blue button to file their new claim for unemployment benefits.

Order extending the registrations of certain licensed professionals:

The Department of Consumer Protection is handling recertification questions on a case-by-case basis. If the licensing renewal requirements for a particular profession or occupation can be met through continuing education online by the expiration date, there will be no extension. Since most licenses can be renewed online or by mail, this should not present an issue for most licensed professionals. Please contact the Department of Consumer Protection License Division  or the regulatory authority for your license if you have any questions. The Department of Public Health is also reviewing the requirements to extend certain certifications and licenses, including for EMTs and others – expect more news in the coming days.

Non-Essential Business Closings Order:

Governor Lamont has signed an executive order directing all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities in Connecticut to prohibit all in-person functions effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

The governor is encouraging all businesses to employ, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work-from-home procedures that they can safely implement. The order excludes any essential business or entity providing essential services or functions, such as healthcare, food service, law enforcement, and similar critical services.
Businesses and nonprofits seeking direction related to the order are urged to read the guidance provided by DECD.

Emergency Child Care Programs:

The Offi­ce of Early Childhood is in close talks with the Governor, the Department of Public Health (DPH), and the state’s Emergency Operation Center regarding Child Care for Essential Workers. Based on the Governor's executive order and policy to stay safe and stay at home, please note that Child care is available for essential workers. Details can be found at: Portal.ct.gov/-/media/DCF/Agency/COVID-Emails/Child-Care-for-Essential-Workers.pdf?la=en.

For healthcare and first responders who are not able to find trusted family or friends for child care please call the 2-1-1 dedicated number 860.756.0864 for support.

Federal Resources:

General Federal resources for small businesses: 

Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy. Visit SBA.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources for guidence on loan resources.

Paycheck Protection Program: UPDATED 4/8  
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses with under 500 employees and certain other small business as defined by the SBA) to keep their workers on the payroll. 

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for healthcare, mortgage, rent, utilities, and interest on debt.  

The application has been posted on the Treasury Department’s CARES Act resource page as of the afternoon of Tuesday, March 31. After you gather the information described on the application form you should contact your bank or an approved lending institution to start the application process.

The Small Business Administration has a network of at least 1,800 approved lenders that process small business loans and intends to add more of them. If your bank is not an SBA-approved lender or you don’t have an existing banking relationship, you can contact the SBA to find one.  

PPP Fact Sheet (For Borrowers) 

The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

Federal small businesses Disaster Loan Assistance Program: UPDATED 4/8

Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) of up to $2 million dollars are now available for small businesses and nonprofits in Massachusetts that have been negatively financially impacted by COVID-19.

An Economic Injury Disaster Loan can be used as working capital for expenses that cannot be met including payroll, sick leave, cost of materials, mortgage, rent, and utilities.

This loan can supply borrowers with a $10,000 advance within three days and is subject to a 3.75% interest rate for up to 30 years. 

You can apply for a small business Disaster Loan at Disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Employee Retention Tax Credit: New 4/8

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new Employee Retention Tax Credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19.  

Private employers, including non-profits, carrying on a trade or business in 2020 that have operations partially or fully suspended as a result of orders from a governmental authority due to COVID-19, or experience a decline in gross receipts by more than 50% in a quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019 are eligible. (Eligibility ends when gross receipts in a quarter exceed 80% compared to the same 2019 quarter).

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”):

Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave.  Read Newswire, IR 2020-57, which clarifies what benefits are provided and how they will be fully subsidized through a refundable payroll tax credit under the Act (and a similar credit for self-employed individuals). For more information on how your business might qualify for this tax credit, please visit the Department of Labor's website.

Federal Legislative Relief Efforts: (Updated 4/24/20)

On April 23, 2020, Congress signed a bill that added more funding for the CARES Act — the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. This will allow more qualifying businesses to apply for fee-free loans of up to $10 million that could help cover payroll, employee salaries, mortgages, rent and some other debt obligations. The portion of the loan used by small businesses to cover their payrolls could be forgiven if businesses retain their employees through the end of June 30, 2020. Additionally, the CARES bill would defer the payment of employer-side payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022, with half of payroll taxes for 2020 due by Dec. 31, 2021, and the other half due by Dec. 31, 2022. If the first round of applications for the forgivable loans is any indication the available funds will go quickly.

Energize CT COVID-19 FAQs

Eversource and the United Illuminating (UI), Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG), and Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG), subsidiaries of Avangrid, Inc., (Companies) are committed to providing our customers with outstanding energy efficiency services.

Q: Where can I go for additional resources?
A: See our Trade Ally section for a list of state and federal resources we have compiled for your convenience.

Q: How will the COVID-19 pandemic impact our Energy Efficiency programs? (Updated 6/8/2020)

A: The Governor of Connecticut 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.  

On May 8, 2020, Governor Lamont and the Department of Economic and Community Development released guidance on reopening for businesses that choose to do so beginning May 20, 2020.  The opening of non-essential businesses does not equate to a return to prior procedures for on-premise work. At this time, the suspensions of on-premise contracted vendor activities remain in place except for the on-premise work that can be delivered from exterior or unoccupied building spaces. Only certain contractors who have completed health and safety training may commence this on-site work. All contracted vendors must execute contract addendums with each Company. C&I contracted vendors may also need to execute a waiver letter with the customer in order to continue on-premise work.

The Companies continue to work in coordination with public health experts and officials and members of the contractor community to discuss how contractors can resume additional services as quickly and safely as possible. We must continue to make safety the highest priority.

Q: What health and safety guidelines are being developed (Updated 6/29/2020)?

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 that involve customer contact. The Companies are considering 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. 

As of June 1, 2020, on-premise services that can be delivered from an exterior/unoccupied space of 1-4 unit homes can be initiated. All work shall be done in adherence to both third-party health and safety guidelines, as well as incremental compliance protocols agreed to between each contractor and the company sponsoring each job. 

Please note that no work shall be completed without explicit approval of the respective Company sponsoring each project. 

Additional health and safety guidelines have been developed for C&I, Multifamily and Residential on-premise work and for on-premise work that involves customer contact. The most recent version of health and safety guidelines for on-premise work involving customer contact were released on June 11, 2020. As of June 29, 2020, these guidelines have been modified to include:

Alternative requirements regarding Level 3 PPE 

An addendum detailing PPE requirements for non-installation work. This addendum 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.

Trainings related to C&I and Multifamily work where customer contact is not required were delivered on June 2, 2020. Trainings related to Residential, Multifamily, and C&I on-premise work requiring customer contact were made available on June 11, 2020.  Updated information regarding these trainings is available here.  All work performed under these guidelines is subject to random and unannounced inspections.

Health and safety guidelines and other materials such as FAQ's, etc. are available here

Q: Will this directly affect In-Home and On-Premise Visits? (Updated 6/8/20)

A: No, the suspension of on-premise work has not been completely lifted however, some on-premise services can resume June 1, 2020. Small Business Energy Advantage projects may proceed under a signed waiver between the customer and contracted vendor.

Q: What’s the difference between a contracted vendor and a trade ally?
A: A contracted vendor has been pre-screened and has a signed contract with The Companies. In contrast, a trade ally does not have a contract with The Companies; and a trade ally is a company working through a rebate/incentive program that is operating solely under a direct contract with the customer. 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 6/8/2020)
A: All on-premise work that cannot be delivered from both the exterior and unoccupied spaces of buildings must continue to be suspended.  Training will be available beginning June 11, 2020 that will train and certify workers to begin providing on-premise work that requires customer contact.  Small Business Energy Advantage projects may proceed under a signed waiver between the customer and contracted vendor.

Q: Will customers be able to move forward with any efficiency activities during this time? (Updated 6/8/20)
A: During the temporary suspension of on-premise services, The Companies plan to continue all other energy efficiency services, including:

  • Work on an exterior/unoccupied space of the home or business, subject to applicable health and safety guidelines, and requirements of each Company
  • Online pre-assessments and audits
  • Upstream offerings and instant rebates
  • Mail-in-rebates
  • Active Demand Response
  • Trade ally driven incentives (non-contracted programs for example, EO, ECB, Multifamily, New Construction, etc.)

Q. If a customer is having difficulty paying their EE loan who should they contact? (NEW 4/23/2020) 
A. Eversource and United Illuminating 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.   Connecticut customers that participate in the utility’s on-bill repayment programs (HES Payment Plan, Energize CT Heating Loan and Small Business Energy Advantage Loan Program) should reach out directly to their utility as follows:  Eversource customers should call 1-800-286-2000 and UI customers should call 1-877-WISE USE (1-877-947-3873).  

Q: Can 2019 rebate applications still be submitted? (NEW 4/1/2020)
A: The rebate submission deadline for services or equipment purchased and installed prior to December 31, 2019 has been extended to September 30, 2020. Complete the application following the instructions on the rebate form and submit as directed. No additional steps are required. Please contact your Eversource or Avangrid program administrator or 877-WISE-USE with questions.

Q: When can we expect to resume In-Home and On-Premise Visits? (Updated 6/8/20)
A: (Residential) As of the week of June 1, 2020, on-premise services that can be delivered from an exterior/unoccupied space of 1-4 unit homes may resume. This vendor work will be done subject to adherence to health and safety guidelines. Please note that no work should be completed without explicit approval of the respective Company. The Companies expect that additional work will be allowed in the coming weeks once contracted vendor workers are trained and certified on health and safety guidelines that permit direct customer contact. This training will be offered beginning June 11, 2020. Contracted vendors must execute contract addendums with each Company prior to commencing work.

(C&I) The Companies are mandating trainings for contracted vendor workers on health and safety guidelines. Contracted vendors must execute contract addendums with each Company and participate in the health and safety trainings prior to commencing work.  The Companies have a waiver letter that the customer and contracted vendor may also need to execute to continue on-premise work. The Companies will provide further updates related to resuming on-premise C&I work as new information becomes available.

Q: How do we handle C&I projects that are partially completed? (Updated 3/25/2020)
A: This will be handled on a case by case basis, please contact your Eversource or Avangrid program administrator.

Q: How do we handle residential projects that are partially completed? (Updated 6/8/2020)
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 Eversource or AVANGRID program administrator 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: Will The Companies still be conducting pre-/post-inspections (Updated 6/8/20)
A: At this time, only on-premise post-inspections that are related to exterior/unoccupied spaces may be conducted. We are not conducting any other in-home or on-premise inspections.  The Companies will begin reinstituting other in progress, pre, and post inspections beginning June 11, 2020. 

Until June 11, 2020, 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 contact your respective Company.

Q: Are Technical Assistance (TA) studies still being conducted?
A: If the TA firm is a contracted vendor with one of The Companies, 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: Can exceptions be made for heating replacements in case of emergency?
A: We are allowing emergency heating replacements. Please confirm with The Companies in advance for any income eligible emergency responses.

Q: Can delivery be made on a product that has been purchased and shipped to a business location that is not staffed?
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: Will Eversource and Avangrid employees working remotely create any delays in processing payments? (Updated 4/1/2020)
A: We are working remotely and all have access to our systems and do not foresee any delays.  Please reach out to your Eversource and Avangrid contacts if you have questions.

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: 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 all work done in the customer's home for low income customers.  For insulation, windows and other measures recommended as part of a HES assessment, any work should be done if mutually agreed upon with both the customer and contractor/trade ally understanding the risks.

Q: What if a customer would like to move ahead with Multifamily or Large C&I work despite the suspension?
A: Business partners not on contract with Eversource and/or Avangrid or business partners on purchase order but not acting within their Contracted programs, can upon mutual opt in agreement with the customer, pursue on-premise work at this time. These projects will be eligible for incentive within the relevant non-contracted program following standard submission procedures and adhering to all pre-approval requirements. Should on-premise work be completed on energy efficiency projects outside of the contracted programs, it is highly suggested that additional safety precautions are taken by customer and contractor to adhere to the CDC and States advisements on reducing the spread of COVID-19. Note that on-site inspections will not be conducted for any contracted or non-contracted programs at this time.

Q: Who can we contact if we have pressing questions on a specific project?
A: Please reach out to your Eversource and Avangrid contacts if you have questions about specific projects and cannot find an answer within this FAQs document.

Q: Is there an official notice to send to customers? (NEW 3/25/2020)
A: The Companies have COVID-19 pages on their company websites.  Please visit those pages and share with your customers if they need more specific details:

Q: Eversource issued an HVAC Modernization Demonstration Program RFP for Chiller upgrades in January 2020 and also indicated they had planned to launch a similar RFP for Boilers/heating plants in mid-March, followed by an RTU RFP in early April.  Has the schedule for those RFPs and their deliverables changed? (Updated 4/23/2020)
A: Eversource and Avangrid have been evaluating the deadlines for our Chiller Plant HVAC Modernization Demonstration Program RFP and the planned launch dates for the Heating Plant and RTU Modernization Demonstration Program RFPs.  Because many of our customers have prohibited visitors and vendor access over the next few weeks at a minimum, we recognize that it may impact your ability to complete your analysis and proposal within the RFP specified timelines. For the Chiller RFP, we are going to extend the deliverable dates as listed below at this time.  We intend to evaluate these deliverable dates on May 26, 2020 and determine if these revised deadlines are still appropriate and will communicate any changes or confirm that the revised dates will be held. 

  • Letter of Intent Due Date: June 5, 2020
  • Proposal Due Date: June 19, 2020
  • Award Date: July 31, 2020
  • Install by Date: June 11, 2021

 

For the Heating Plant and RTU HVAC Modernization Demonstration Program RFP’s that we anticipated launching in mid-March and April respectively, we will evaluate the status of customer business operations again on May 26, 2020 and determine if we can launch the Boiler and Heating RFP at that time or if we need additional delay.  We appreciate your understanding with these delays as we continue to maneuver this rapidly changing business environment.

New Health and Safety Guidelines

Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E), a respected third party health & safety consulting firm has developed baseline enhanced health and safety guidelines for on-premise work involving customer contact. These most recent health and safety guidelines for on-premise work involving customer contact replace all previous versions of guidelines. Eversource and United Illuminating (UI), Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG), and Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG), subsidiaries of AVANGRID, Inc. are considering 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. These guidelines are in addition to any requirements that the State of Connecticut develops for on-premise work.

Below you can find resources related to these guidelines:

Modified guidelines for work involving customer contact (updated 6/29/2020 to include alternative requirements regarding Level 3 PPE, PPE for non-installation work and clothing requirements for work involving customer contact)

Recording of the June 11 webinar about these guidelines involving customer contact

Online training and certification for contractors

Log in Instructions

Once you are logged in*, navigate to Course Catalog.

Click Enhanced Energy-Efficiency Health & Safety Guidelines for Customer Contact: Residential, Multifamily, Commercial & Industrial Buildings and click “Enroll”

Go to “My Account” and under “Learning Activities”, launch Enhanced Energy-Efficiency Health & Safety Guidelines for Customer Contact: Residential, Multifamily, Commercial & Industrial Buildings

Once you have completed the training, you can return to “My Account” and under “My Certificates” you can find and print your certificate of completion. 

*(For New Users ONLY) If you have not used this site before, select Create an Account and enter the following credentials

Registration Code: NE-TRADES

Program Code: NE-H&S-20

Webinar on Enhanced C&I Incentives in Response to COVID-19

Eversource, United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas have modified our C&I energy efficiency program offerings and enhanced incentives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help customers save more money and energy during this challenging time. Below you can access the recording of a webinar given on June 12 with more details about these program changes.

June 12 Webinar

June 12 Deck

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