Monday, March 26, 2012

3/26 Response from CONTRACTORS to my 3/23 email


Sent: Mon Mar 26 17:25:30 2012
Subject: Re: "Cost Effectiveness" requirements...? - Thanks for the support! 
Hello everyone,

I was surprised to get such positive response in support of the e-mail I sent Friday.  Below are some written responses.  I've removed most of the names and retained either a first or last initial. 

I suspect a lot of you are concerned about retribution and are holding back.  If anyone else would like to comment anonymously through me, please feel free.  I will assume you wish to remain anonymous unless stated otherwise:

Ted I know we haven't met but thank you for advocating on behalf of all program contractors and our customers. Sincerely, N
Agreed...thank you. Green Jobs Green New York right? I wish the program wasn't so political. They lose sight of why we do this in the first place... A
I think you are clear, honest and to the point here. This is something they need to take to heart and discuss when considering how they move forward. P
Ted, you are right on target!! H

  Ted-  You make some very good points of course. I think the HPwES program has gone off the rails since last year's changes which made the RG&E rebate the easiest choice for our                  HVAC guys to sell. Not being able to tell the customer with certainty that they can expect the NYSERDA 10% rebate killed the program where the dollars would be about equal.
                Now TRC has complicated the Insulation and Air Sealing side to the point where I don't talk about any rebate up front. I find the I &AS jobs I have been selling address a specific                problem, like moisture in the attic space, or is embraced because of comfort issues and not because of a rebate. Small projects are not worth the effort to get CSG approval.
                I have had very positive feedback on the I & AS projects we did last year and that is gratifing, so I see it works on a qualitative level. But the true savings are difficult to know                                 especially from such a small sample, so you are right in requesting quantitative results on a state wide basis, and additionally at what administrative cost!! 
                I feel that TREAT is outdated, that the CHA report is a bad report to give to the customer and that while the intent of HPwES is worthwhile, the implementation is pretty broken.
                There seems to be a lot of people that share this belief but I don't see much being done about it. I expect the sharp decline in the number of projects will draw attention, but too late.

                I will be heading down to the ACI meetings in Baltimore tomorrow. I hope to come back with some ideas on what direction this whole industry may be taking.    B 
Ted,Thank you so much for your response to NYSERDA.I too have been trying hard to be heard, about all the things you have expressed.I managed to get NYSERDA to increase the loan pre-approval time from 60 to 180 days.A 60 day period was not working with the process, and my customers were having to re-qualify, sometimes backing out of the sale.Yesterday I gave my REDACTED notice to REDACTED.I am a hard working, valued member of our company, but working within the HPwES program, is setting your business up for failure.I believe customer service is the key to good business, but the program create obstacles, that leave your company with deep wounds.I wish you the best, and know that you are not alone.Sincerely, M

M followed up with:

Date: Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 3:18 PM
Subject: a shame
To: Ted Kidd <>

I give you permission to use my name for your correspondence with NYSERDA.
Ultimately my frustration with the HPwES program, has led me to resign from GHA, as Residential Manager.
The program currently sets up contractors for failure.
I am unable to provide good customer service, and projects are unable to be completed in a timely manner, due to the programs restrictions. To be successful, we rely on customer referrals. With every project falling into conflict, my customers are exhausted by the end, and are unlikely to refer our business. Our association with the HPwES program has put our reputation at great risk.

Maggie Maurer
BPI Certified Building Analyst

After seeing these responses a friend wrote:

Wow - those are some very powerful statements.  I know that you were confident about what you stated, but this type of response has to really validate the accuracy of your data and your note.  J

Another friend wrote: 

Wow,   seems there is at least one contractor out there that is very frustrated and has no one to vent too.
this would be nice to get out anonymously.  
would be interesting to see what happens. T

Finally, here is a fairly long one that I chopped more than half out due to length and anonymity:
"Ted, I didn't want to hit reply all for fear of being "black Balled" and having jobs pulled after they were done for the Honeywell nazi's to tear apart like a pack of wolves.  I called my CSG rep today and asked him about the  cost jobs versus the sir bull crap.  he said he did not think there was anything to it, but I am seeing price fixing all over that statement coming down the pipe.  it is clear that there is no one at CSG NYSERDA or the PSC that cares one bit about the contractor in the field. 
...GJNY is a complete bust.  I have heard that comfort windows has laid off all but eight employees and is in trouble.  Green Homes almost didn't make payroll in the late part of 2011.  The free audits are not being policed and there are plenty of "walk through audits" being done and giving the program a bad reputation.
  The SIR thing should completely go away entirely.  Rate of return is something that almost everyone knows and understands.  Let's ask ourselves a questions here on investment, if you get a call for someone that has a comfort isuues why do we need to make it pass any sort of scrutiny from another entity?  If the customer is willing to spend the money borrowed or not ... why do we have to beg or worse change something that will get the glorious 1.1 SIR to do the work.  
...The Green jobs and the changes have put more people out of work and made it more difficult that this needs to be.
...I personally belive that they don't want to fix it.  The goal for green jobs all along was to put unionized people into the homes to do the work.  If they drive the small companies out and there are just a few core companies doing the work it will be easier to make that happen.  Don't ask me how that would work but this is what I have been told twice (the unionized part).
  There are several things that could fix all of this: 
...The SIR thing disappears.  
...The customer should be the one to say that they want to spend the money one a give project and not the blessed gods at nyserda and the psc.  I think CSG is a puppet right now that is stuck betwwen the contractor and nyserda, i am not defending them just what i think. 
  ...There has to my knowledge been no training on what they are really looking for in a treat file.  We can be 99% accurate and they will still hold the project up with questions that are so dumb that even typing a repsonse makes one laugh.  At the ACI conference in Saratoga at one of the seminars I asked if they could (CSG) put together all of the reasons why a job got rejected for the last month be sent to the contractors in the program.  the response was that they don't track it and it would be difficult to do.  If they put forth the effort our costs would go down, our jobs would flow faster, CSG would not have the frustration of sending file back and forth for days on end, and holy cow we might make a buck doing it.  Again a failure in the system.
 ...i would like to have someone at NYSERDA go to a 4500 sq ft house with natural gas for a fuel source do an audit and all of the paperwork associated with that project go back and tell the customer that they can't help.  Or better yet have them do all of the paperwork necessary to do a AHP job and see how long it takes them to do, and oh by the way they can't get a pay check until the job is entirely complete.
..The contractor in the field has no help with Treat files, marketing, and for that matter anything besides himself to get through this.  Can someone step forward to help?
...There are several more items, but I have been frustrated enough over this whole thing.  I am guessing that there are contractors dropping out of this mess left and right.  There are also some on the verge of bankruptcy. 
...They are not looking at the big picture.  People who have nothing can get it all, food stamps, HEAP, Empower etc.  The people how are struggling to pay there bill and want comfort in there hoem and are willing to pay for that are left out or it takes a god awful long time to get it done.  What a sad statement when there are truly millions in the bank of NYSERDA to spend."
When I asked this writer for permission to "Publish" his response, he replied: 

That sounds good.  As you can see there is a good man there that has to bail because he can't make a living for his family.

Folks, lack of guideline clarity, transparency, and arbitrary contractor treatment by CSG carries a huge part in this failure.  I think a lot of the troubles with the program track back to bad guidance from  from CSG management to CSG staff, and CSG management to NYSERDA. 

Might be nice if we had a new program implementer.  

Again, if I can be of assistance or be message conveyance to NYSERDA about CSG or other issues, please don't hesitate to reach out. 

Ted Kidd

Learning from our mistakes means admitting to them first.  It takes all of us to build a better system. - Dr. Sanjay Gupta

SUMMARY:  The program appears to be going off the rails.  As if the comments above weren't proof, below are more comments that came in after I'd sent this e-mail.

NEXT:  John Ahearn responds to this e-mail, and I respond to his comments.

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