April 3, 2020 (Updated)
Frequently Asked Questions
Pursuant to COVID-19 Order No.13, we will be updating the dates and details below to relevant Questions and Answers.
Where can I go for additional resources?
Click here for a list of state and federal resources that we have compiled for your convenience.
Q: What mitigation efforts are the Program Administrators considering? (NEW 3/25/2020)
In light of the suspension of on-premises work, the Program Administrators 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. The Program Administrators have formed a Contractor Mitigation Working Group consisting of representatives from the Program Administrators (led by National Grid and Eversource), the Department of Energy Resources, the Low-Income Energy Affordability Network (LEAN), and the contractor community.
Q: How will the COVID-19 pandemic impact our Energy Efficiency programs and how long will these changes last? (Updated 4/2/2020)
The Governor of Massachusetts 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 our 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.
The PAs continue to closely monitor COVID-19 developments and impacts. On March 31, 2020, the Administration extended the closure of physical businesses and the prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people until May 4. Given updated regional and federal communications and recent guidance, the PAs continue to believe that the currently in-place suspensions of on-premise contracted vendor activities will remain in place for the foreseeable future. We urge our implementation partners and contractors to take this reality into consideration in rescheduling customer appointments. During this time, the PAs 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 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.
Q: The Governor updated his essential services list to include energy efficiency. Has the suspension of on-premise work been lifted? (NEW 4/2/2020)
No, the suspension of on-premise work has not been lifted. On March 31, 2020, the Administration extended the closure of physical businesses and the prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people until May 4. It also updated the “COVID-19 Essential Services” list, which is based on federal guidance that was updated earlier this week. The new list went into effect on April 1, 2020 at noon. While these businesses are designated as essential, they must follow social distancing protocols for workers in accordance with guidance from the Department of Public Health (DPH). The main priority for the Program Administrators remains the safety of our customers, business partners, and employees. The Governor’s updates to the list of essential services remove a barrier to the resumption of on-premise work and make clear that energy efficiency projects do not need to seek a specific exception for resuming work when safe to do so. The suspension of on-premise work will remain in place until the Program Administrators determine that it is safe for some or all activity to resume with all appropriate safety protocols in place. The Program Administrators continue to work in coordination with the DOER, the AG’s office, LEAN and members of the contractor community to ensure work can resume as quickly as possible once that determination has been made. We will continue to update these FAQs as new or additional information and guidance is developed.
Q: Will this directly affect In-Home and On-Premise Visits?
The Massachusetts Program Administrators 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 contracted vendor has been fully vetted, has a signed contract with the Program Administrator 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 rebate/incentive program and operating solely under a direct contract with the customer, not a Program Administrator. 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 (energy assessments and work not started) already scheduled? (Updated 3/25/2020)
All visits through at least April 7, 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 Department of Public Utilities, Department of Energy Resources, Attorney General’s Office, LEAN, Department of Public Health, local Boards of Health, and other trusted sources.
Q: Will customers be able to move forward with any efficiency activities during this time? (Updated 3/25/2020)
During the temporary suspension of on-premise services, the Program Administrators plan to continue all other energy efficiency services, including:
- Online audits
- Upstream/Point-of Sale offerings
- Retail rebates
- Active Demand Response
- Trade ally driven C&I incentives
- In some limited cases, "virtual" pre- and post-inspections for C&I projects
Q: When can we expect to resume In-Home and On-Premise Visits?
We will communicate an official date to re-commence 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: How do we handle Small C&I projects that are partially completed? (Updated 3/25/2020)
This will be handled on a case by case basis, please contact your Program Administrator.
Q: Will Program Administrators still be conducting pre-/post-inspections? (Updated 3/25/2020)
We are not conducting any in-home or on-premise inspections. The Program Administrators are researching and discussing alternatives and will post updates here. Please reach out to your PA 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 contact your Program Administrator.
Q: Are Technical Assistance (TA) studies still being conducted?
If the TA firm is a contracted vendor with one of the Program Administrators, 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?
Yes, provided there is no customer contact. The vendor should ensure all recommended precautions are being taken regarding social distancing.
Q: Are you allowing exceptions for safety or emergency situations? (Updated 3/25/2020)
We are allowing exceptions for when safety (e.g., open wiring) issues need to be addressed or when there is an emergency that may affect occupant health (e.g., failed heating system replacement). Please contact your Program Administrator if you have any questions.
Q: Can delivery be made on a product that has been purchased and shipped to a business location that is not staffed?
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? (Updated 3/25/2020)
Most Program Administrators have COVID-19 pages on their company websites. Please visit those pages and share with your customers if they need more specific details:
Q: Will Program Administrator employees working remotely create any delays in processing payments? (Updated 4/1/2020)
We are working remotely and all have access to our systems and do not foresee any delays. Please reach out to your Program Administrator contacts if you have specific questions.
Q: Where can I go for the most up-to-date decisions on efficiency projects?
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?
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: Do HERS Raters have the ability to continue to report project completions to the program that include code compliance work? (NEW 4/2/2020)
The Mass Save Residential New Construction Program will allow only participating projects seeking code compliance inspections to submit for incentive processing. Program participants seeking inspections not related to code compliance work will not be eligible for processing during this time. HERS Raters will adhere to RESNET guidance on Limiting Exposure to Covid-19 and should reference additional resources from MassSave.com, the Massachusetts Program Administrators and OSHA.
Q: Who can we contact if we have pressing questions on a specific project?
Please reach out to your Program Administrator contacts if you have questions about specific projects and cannot find an answer within this FAQs document.