Braby letter to GreenON
By Patrick Flannery
We just received this communiqué regarding invoice requirements for GreenON – windows. This has sent our stress level to an all-time high. Allow me to elucidate with a detailed recap of our experience with your program thus far.
On December 13, 2017, the GreenON program for high efficiency windows was announced. We welcomed the program with open arms; good for reducing the carbon footprint, good for consumers, good for legitimate window contractors. We in fact had been given an opportunity to register as a participating contractor on November 29, 2017 which we did! Since then, we have been faced with rule changes, webinars that contradict power point slides, and a submission portal that doesn’t work to name but a few.
You have changed the submission requirements several times since the powerpoint slides provided to us in December. The Excel spreadsheet stopgap measure that you introduced had two different versions (January 30, 2018, and March 1, 2018) collecting different data in both cases from the December slides and each other. All three of those then differed from the portal. Through the course of these changes, we developed information capture processesfourdifferent times in order to collect the required data all due to your inconsistencies. We now have hours of labour invested in this part of the rebate process. I will give you one specific concrete example:A PowerPoint slide (Dec 16, 2017) asked us to collect the approximate age of the windows. On submission form 1 (January 30, 2018) that question was deleted. On submission form 2 (March 1, 2018) that question was deleted. In the submission portal (March 19, 2018) that question was put back in place.
This inconsistency continued with the “type of windows” as well as the “age of existing heat source.” We now need to provide many more hours of our labour to go back to the same clients whose data previously collected was incomplete.
We attended a webinar hosted by Amy Eakins [GreenON business advisor] and Jeff Baker [Fenestration Canada technical advisor] on January 19, 2018. From that webinar we were told several things about the program:
1. We were told that Appendix A has inconsistencies with respect to mathematical equivalencies (u-values of 0.25 and 1.42) as well as using outdated industry standards, specifically CSA A440 v.s NAFS. This appendix was identified as something that needed changing and that Fenestration Canada would be working with GreenON to update its content. Eleven-and-a-half weeks have gone by since then and still nothing has happened.
2. We were told that marketing guidelines as well as a special logo for contractor use would be developed. Eleven-and-a-half weeks have gone by since then and still nothing has happened.
3. Steve Hopwood [Energy Star account manager] informed the webinar’s attendees that the NRCan list of qualified products for the rebate changes regularly. It was clear that GreenON staff had no idea of that fact and that they thought that they would simply upload a list once a year.
4. Amy Eakins stated that greenoncontractorresources.ca should be live in February. I can tell you that it still links to a page that says “Website coming soon.”
5. Work completed prior to March 31, 2018, needs to be submitted by April 30, 2018. That’s impossible to do with products not listed in the drop-down menu of the portal.
6. We were told in no uncertain terms that homeowners who had previously participated in a Union Gas rebate program would be ineligible to participate in GreenON. Then, sometime in early March, you changed your eligibility policy on that without telling any of us. We had to find out from a customer who said that we as the contractor were wrong. Why haven’t you changed theterms and conditions on the website to reflect this?
7. We were told by Amy Eakins, and I quote directly from the webinar recording. “…we are not stipulating any changes to how companies prepare their invoices. There is no requirement (that the installer’s name) be reflected on the invoice. Again, there are no requirements for what’s stated on the invoice”
This takes us to today. Now you’re attempting to change the rules again with new invoicing requirements. To top it all off, you don’t even have all of the qualified windows in the drop-down menus on the portal. You are now telling us we have to put model numbers on invoices when no one in the industry has ever done that. Installer’s name too? Why ? We are already choosing the drop-down for the windows we installed as well as choosing the qualified installer from a drop-down. If we were ever to use the model number of a window on an invoice, we wouldn’t even be using what you have put in the drop-down lists. We would be referencing the NRCan qualification number as was the case for the Union Gas/Enbridge Gas program.
The amount of work you have placed on the shoulders of small retailers/contractors for this program is totally unfair, unmanageable and out of touch with the realities of our business’ day to day operations as well as those of the industry’s. This submission process should be 100 per cent in the hands of the rebate recipient. They are the ones benefitting and getting paid, not us. They can take the photos, they can answer the multiple demographic questions and they can submit to you our invoice to them. Why should we have to store the consumer photos on our server? We don’t have space for it. We are an established and well-organized window and door retailer who has procedures and policies in effect to make things run smoothly. I can’t imagine what a smaller one- or two-person operation is going through at this moment.
This has to stop. We are the frontline people trying to implement your ever-changing program. We’re tired, frustrated, stressed and have run out of patience. What do we do now when our clients ask us about their rebate submission status? The ones we can’t submit because of a web portal that isn’t up-to-date? Give them your contact information?