Thursday 15th of November 2018 | Posted In: Renewable energy, Generate

Renewable Heat Incentive Audits – Frustrating and time consuming

But we can help!

Ofgem is required by law to audit a proportion of RHI accredited systems annually to maintain compliance, these can be conducted entirely randomly or targeted to high-risk systems on the scheme. Regardless of why an audit is conducted, these can be a difficult and frustrating ordeal for some. It can help to understand the process.

An auditor (who will be a subcontractor to Ofgem) will attend site, either pre-arranged with 10 days’ notice or unannounced. They will require full access to both the system and your records, including all the accreditation paperwork. Any gaps in information or issues found will be marked as a non-compliance or an issue to be investigated further. Your auditor may provide you with contact details so that you can send any documents or other requested information to them for completing the audit. Should issues or non-compliances be found, at this point you should not panic. Your RHI accreditation and payments will continue as normal until you receive official notification from Ofgem. Our advice at this stage is to contact your consultant or ourselves if you are concerned about what is raised and gather the necessary evidence or information to be able to officially respond.

The next step in the process is a receipt of the audit outcomes, this will come from Ofgem but is a report produced by the independent auditor, this will outline the issues and highlight what you should be doing, crucially for any non-compliances that affect your accreditation they will state “Please do not action any of the above issues until you have spoken to your Ofgem Reviewer.” Following this Ofgem will contact you directly. The reason for this is that Ofgem will be cross checking your audit with their records and any information you have provided and may decide that some of the issues raised are not needing further work or investigation.ur payments will be put on hold until the audit and issues discovered are resolved to satisfaction.

The second communication you will get will be the Ofgem completion of audit letter. This will highlight all the issues that Ofgem agree require attention. Within this letter there will be a section requesting action – it is the points herein that require attention. You will have an initial 30 days to respond to these – which may require significant information provision. If you have started collecting this immediately post-audit, the responses will be easier. Should responses not be sufficient Ofgem will issue a further request, these are likely to have shorter response times.

It is important to note that there are many possible outcomes to an audit depending on what is deemed non-compliant. These can be as small as requiring an amendment to the accreditation, which could include repaying the money and may require a change in accreditation date or indeed total removal from the scheme. Therefore it is important to get the best advice and respond in a timely and professional manner.

Once the audit is complete and subject to outcomes your payments will resume. You will be required to put in place robust data recording systems to ensure any data based non-compliances do not reoccur.

Here at FEC Energy, we are involved in audits and audit responses continually. We are always happy to help you with the required responses although if there is a problem we would like to be involved early in the process, both to give us time to make a timely response and gather data and also to speed up the process. We also have a pre-audit service that will provide you with some peace of mind that an audit will not be a problem.