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December 2012 WAP Wire


Announcements

Fuel Price Libraries

Fuel price library updates were sent to service providers a few weeks ago. If you missed the updates, please contact Mark McLaughlin at mark.mclaughlin@state.mn.us. We use a five-year average to determine these prices so they may not be exactly what prices are at the moment. We did explore using other methods, but over time this is the most reliable. We certainly have the ability to make corrections during the year if need be.

SERC Monitoring Visit

A DOE SERC monitor will be visiting Minnesota sometime during the month of March. The focus of the visit is technical, but will also include a fiscal component. Service Providers in the SERC program will be notified if they will receive a visit. 

Equipment Specifications

A recent review of SP inventory lists uncovered that some SPs have insulation blowers without the capacity to dense pack walls in retrofit situations. Please remember that all weatherization equipment must be able to perform at a level that enables crews and contractors to meet WAP standards. If you have questions about the capacity of equipment, please contact your monitor. 

Policy Updates

Homeowner and Contractors

Homeowners cannot choose contractors for the Weatherization Assistance Program. This practice does not follow proper procurement. It does not allow for free and open competition based on price and may lead to solicitation of homeowners by contractors. This defeats procurement procedures. 

Important Policy Reminders

Commerce often queries the statewide database as a part of its monitoring activities as a review of local service provider practices.  Queries sometimes uncover practices not in compliance with Commerce or U.S. DOE WAP policies.  Here are three instances of non-compliance:

  1. Payments Prior to Inspections. Some SPs pay contractors for work prior to prior to inspecting the work to verify that the work has been performed satisfactorily.  If your SP currently does this, you must discontinue this practice immediately. This is not an allowed practice.  
  2. Required Status Dates. Current Minnesota WAP policy requires that the following WA status dates be set:  Site Visit Complete, Work Start, Work End, Final Inspection, and Complete/Locked. Most SPs regularly get most or all the status dates into WA, so this item is mostly a reminder. However, also note that starting January 1, 2013, Commerce will require two additional status dates be set:   Invoice received and Invoice paid.  Look for an updated policy soon.
  3. Air Sealing Incentives. Monitors have discovered that a few SPs are still paying air sealing incentives to their contractors.   Air sealing incentives are not allowed.  Any SP paying incentives of any kind to contractors must discontinue this practice immediately. 

Program Updates

Below are a couple of important program reminders regarding DOE Health and Safety requirements listed in WPN 11-6. DOE has not issued a newer Health and Safety policy. Make sure you are following the requirements for OSHA training and lead training. 

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Crew Safety

Action: “Workers must follow OSHA standards and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and take precautions to ensure the health and safety of themselves and other workers. MSDS must be posted wherever workers may be exposed to hazardous materials.” 

Training: “Use and importance of personal protection equipment. OSHA 10 hour training is required for all workers. OSHA 30 hour training is required for crew leaders.”

Lead Based Paint 

Action: “Follow EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (RRP). In addition to RRP, WAP requires all weatherization crews working in pre-1978 housing to be trained in Lead Safe Weatherization (LSW). Deferral is required when the extent and condition of lead-based paint in the house would potentially create further health and safety hazards.” 

Training: “All weatherization crews working on pre-1978 homes must receive LSW training and be accompanied by an EPA Certified Renovator. Grantee monitors/inspectors must be certified renovators and receive LSW training.”

Training

Administrative Training

DER is working to secure trainers for the four administrative training curricula which include client education, fiscal management, program management, and project management. Client education and fiscal management trainings will be the first to roll out. We will let you know dates and times once those are established. 

ASHRAE 62.2 Training

If you have auditors and/or inspectors who have not taken the ASHRAE 62.2 training, please contact your field monitors. DER will assist in finding appropriate courses for this required training.

New Auditors and Inspectors

If you are in need of training for new auditors and inspectors, please contact Marilou Cheple at marilou.cheple@state.mn.us. DOE has determined that all auditors and inspectors must pass a rigorous test by July 1, 2014. At this time, the test is not available in Minnesota. It is likely that one or two training entities will offer both training and testing in the coming year. Until then, we will work with you to determine what training is appropriate if the state-required Dunwoody training is unavailable.