Recently FEC Energy experienced increasing volumes of calls related to responses from Ofgem for audits on Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) accredited systems. It can be very stressful for clients who receive these strongly worded formal letters and can pose a daunting task in constructing a response, let alone collecting together all the information required for submission in the short time frame allowed. The situation is often exacerbated as during the audit, more often than not, the auditor will have seemed happy with the system and have been non-committal on any issues which may have been spotted. Thomas Wilkins of FEC Energy has written a series of blogs that will break down the audit process and what you can expect. Firstly, let’s look at what happens on the day of the audit and when you can expect to receive the results of the audit.
Day of the audit
A representative of the audit company, who are contracted to undertake the work on behalf of Ofgem will visit your site. You may be given prior warning of the visit, which is typically between 3 days and 2 weeks’ notice. Audits can also be carried out unannounced, refusing or restricting access is only likely to worsen the situation and increase the number on non-compliances highlighted to Ofgem. The auditor will expect to be able to access all parts of the system and browse through all originally submitted documents and meter/fuel records retained as part of the ongoing obligations on the scheme. If some of these records aren’t at hand during the day of the audit, you may be able to discuss sending these on at a later date. It’s worth discussing this with the auditor, as it will often lead to the issue being resolved and removed from the list of observations which is provided to Ofgem.
Closure letter received
Several months can pass between the audits and when you receive a response from Ofgem regarding the visit, this will be in the form of a Closure Letter. There is no set length of time Ofgem have to respond to and any variation on this time is not a reflection on how well you have/haven’t passed the inspection. The Closure Letter will highlight the observations of the auditor and what they deem to have constituted as non-compliant.
- Observation classed as a non-compliance: Requires further guidance from Ofgem on the appropriate course of action.
- Observation not constituting as non-compliance: Will have a recommendation on work involved to rectify the issue.
The receipt of the Closure Letter gives you a summary of what may be wrong with the system in relation to compliance on the RHI scheme. It is the first opportunity to begin collecting any evidence together in order to send to Ofgem.