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We held an information session on 9 March 2021 to present an overview of the program to Accredited Persons.
Download the presentation slides (pdf, 1MB).
Nick Balgue: Hi, everybody. How are you doing? Thanks for joining us today. Really happy you could be here. This is the information session for the Small Business Energy Saver Program. And this information session is designed for accredited persons. My name's Nick Balgue. I'm the Manager of the Sustainable Business Team at SV. And with me is John van Rooden, the Strategic Coordinator who's working on this program to talk to you today. No doubt you would have seen the Minister's announcement on Sunday. So, we really look forward to going through the program a bit further detail with you.
Nick: So, today the agenda, for the most part, we will be going through the guidelines and highlighting key points under this program. I'd like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the many lands on which we are meeting from today. I'd also like to pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and future. As I said, we'll be going through the various sections of the guidelines today. An overview of the small business program. And then we'll open up to questions at the end. Feel free to raise questions as you like as they come through, and we'll have people moderate these questions throughout the session. And again, if we can't answer them then, we'll answer them at the end of the session where possible. So, yeah.
Nick: To kick off, to reiterate a bit of a program overview from the last time we saw you, the program has been launched on the 7th of March. So, very happy to see that out in the public domain now. The program aims to do a few key things. One of which is to provide stimulus measures for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 as we're aware. Reduce small business energy costs across Victoria. Encourage the uptake of VEU activities in this sector, the sector being small business, and assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Nick: So, a few other key points to mentioned is that there's $5 million in funding for eligible upgrades. And the program will run from March effective from now till May next year. It's eligible for small businesses. So, again, we talk about small businesses being the commercial non-residential premises. Non-residential being the same definition as the ESC has under the VEU program. And that means that there's under 20 employees and it excludes agricultural primary producers who are eligible for grants under the Agricultural Energy Investment Plan.
Nick: Key points. The program will run in parallel with VEU as much as possible. So, we're trying to run this program in parallel and it's worth noting that today that a request for quote has gone out to intermediaries at the same time as the program being released to APs.
Nick: So, eligibility. Eligibility under this program. We advise that you register as soon as possible and no later than 31st of August this year. We need APs that have previously registered VEECs for one or more eligible VEU activities under this program. Small business eligibility, we talk about, has between one and 19 employees. We don't determine between the employee status. That's a key point there. We don't distinguish between full-time or casual. They just need to have between one and 19 employees. They operate from a commercial non-residential premises. As I mentioned before, we're going off the definition that's already in place with the ESC. And the program excludes agricultural primary producers. Basically, you're talking about on-farm here for the most part, and that is because they currently have a range of incentives under the Agricultural Energy Investment Plan available to them.
Nick: We also won't be supporting, obviously, upgrades that already happened prior to today or prior to APs being registered. There's some key points there. Moving on. Now talking about calculating the bonus, and to talk further about that, I'm going to get John van Rooden to speak a little more. So, over to John.
John van Rooden: Thanks, Nick. As Nick mentioned, the whole aim of this program is to offer incentives to small businesses to take up VEU upgrades. So, this program delivers the program bonus. So, this bonus is in addition to any discounts that businesses can get through the VEU activity's system. The bonus is limited to up to $2,000 per business. So, anything up to $2,000 per business. Now, the bonus is calculated on a multiple. There's a multiplier that's employed, and what we do is the multiplier is a multiple of the number of VEECs that are created under the VEU program. Now the multipliers then determine the number of vouchers that are produced under this program. Now, each voucher under the program is valued at $40 per voucher. And I'll go through an example very shortly how that works.
John: We're offering higher multipliers. So, therefore, a greater incentive for regional areas compared to metro and Melbourne to encourage activity in regional Victoria, which has probably missed out in the past. The multipliers range anywhere from 0.1 to 26 for metro regions and from 0.16 to 26 for regional regions of Victoria. So, there's quite a range of activities that typically would be involved under this program. So, we've got a list there of quite a few activities. So, you can see activities part 1, which largely is all about hot water systems and 3B, which is gas, hot water systems. Also looking at heating and cooling systems as well, so part 10A.
John: Also looking at single and two door refrigerators, upright freezers, high efficiency listed motors, refrigerated display cabinets, fan motors, both in display cabinets and commercial freezers and fan motors in ducted systems or partition fans. And also, water efficient pre-rinse spray valves as well. So, it's quite an extensive range. Point to note that lighting won't receive a bonus under this particular program. And as we pointed out before, that's because lighting has been well supported in the past and is largely cost-free anyway. So, the multipliers have been calculated to provide a very significant discount for small businesses to be involved in the program. We’ll just go to the next slide please, Nick.
John: So, just with regards to the bonuses. So, to calculate the bonuses, we've got two tables here, which details the bonuses. So, for argument's sake, if we look at activity 1D, which is replacing inefficient electric hot water system with a heat pump. So, with regards to... So, the number of VEECs that are generated there... Now, we're assuming this is an average VEEC value that we've based multipliers on. So, for a medium-sized heat pump system, we've determined that the average number of VEECs will be 29. So, based on that average number of VEECs, the multiplier that's been applied there is 0.45. So, if we multiply the VEECs by the multiplier, that means that we generate right about 13.2 vouchers for that particular activity.
John: So, to calculate the bonus, all we simply do is multiply the the number of vouchers by the $40 bonus voucher value. So that means that in that case, we're looking at a bonus under the system of $529 in addition to the VEECs that are generated by that activity as well. And you'll note there that if we look across to the regional column, you'll see that the number of VEECs is slightly higher on average. The multiplier is slightly higher, which generates a slightly higher incentive in the regional are, so we're looking at $658 as opposed to $529.
John: Another example further down. If we look at 10A(ii), where basically what we're doing is we're replacing existing air conditioner with an energy efficient air conditioner. So, we're looking there at 1.9 VEECs generated on average for an average sized system. We've got a multiplier there of 26.05. So, again, that generates 50 vouchers and add a $40 voucher price, the bonus available there is $2,000. So, the bonuses are capped at $2,000 per business.
John: So, in an example where we might have a business that might have a couple of air conditioners, for instance, that they're wanting to upgrade under this particular program, that business would be limited to one upgrade at a $2,000 bonus. And the other upgrade would just normally track the VEECs as per usual. Just go to the next slide. Thanks, Nick.
John: Another example there is refrigerated supply cabinets. So, if we look at part 32A(ii), which is a refrigerated supply cabinet of one to two square meters. Again, you can see that the average number of VEECs there is 25.1. Receives a multiplier of almost two, generating 50 vouchers at $40 each. Again, that's maxed out at $2,000 for that particular activity. And you can see it's exactly the same for regional area capped out at $2,000. So, that's just going through the table, so they're showing some examples there. And if we just go to the next slide. Thanks, Nick.
John: So, just going through a couple of examples. So, we've got a hairdresser in central Victoria, Maryborough, and they're wishing to upgrade their electric hot water service to a heat pump. So, assuming an install price of $2,000 and we're assuming this system attracts 31 VEECs. So, to calculate the number of bonuses... That bonus vouchers that are generated under this program, we simply take the 31 VEECs multiplied by the multiplier, in this case, which is 0.5, which means they've got 15.5 bonus vouchers that are generated under this program. The bonus value is the number of vouchers, 15.5 multiplied by the $40 per voucher, which means we have a bonus of $620. So, the net cost to business is the $2,000 installed price less the VEECs that are generated, which is 1,242, less the program bonus of $620, which means that the net cost to the business is $138, which is a 93% discount compared to the initial install price.
John: So, basically, we do understand that on an activity basis, there's lots of different size systems or products per activity, and there'll be different number of VEECs that are generated depending on the models. So, we understand that. So, as far as claiming the bonuses or calculating the bonuses concerned, whatever the number of VEECs that are generated by that particular product multiplied by the multiplier which is in this table. That will calculate the number of bonuses and multiplied by the $40 will give you the bonus. So, it's the number of VEECs that are generated based on the model that you apply that will determine the bonus that is kept quite at the end.
John: We'll just quickly note as well that the multiplier value or the multiplier will vary from time to time and we reserve the right to do that, and that's to ensure that we preserve the integrity of the program and ensure that we meet the program objectives. So, I'll just hand back to you. Thanks, Nick.
Nick: Thanks for that, John. So, following on from what John's gone over now, we're going to talk a bit further about the bonus allocation and the system under this program. So, on registration, APs will be allocated 1,000 vouchers or $40,000 (ex GST) bonus to claim under the program, is the sort of default bonus allocation.
Nick: The initial delivery period will be three months. So that is three months for APs to register VEECs that will create these bonuses within that three months. If an AP utilises, or is likely to utilise its bonus allocation before the end of this delivery period of three months, it may request an allocation review. So, SV will monitor each APs' progress towards achieving the bonus allocation based on the progress at the VEEC creation phase. So, we will see how you're progressing through your allocation by the jobs that you're submitting, and obviously by the jobs you're trying to create, or the certificates you're trying to create with the ESC. That'll be a main marker. APs will be able to claim the bonus for any eligible VEU activity that has been properly created, registered and claimed, not withstanding the balance of this bonus allocated has gone back into the pool.
Nick: So, an example of some of the activity here would be an AP registers to participate in the program. So this week, AP registered and delivers 70 installations, claiming $35,000 in bonus after two months. So, you've been given three months, you're getting near the end or getting towards your allocation in even two months or you're ahead of time. The AP has more businesses signing up and requests an allocation review from SV. Based on the outcomes of that review, SV provides the AP with an allocation of 2,000 more vouchers or $80,000 with a further three month delivery period timeframe.
Nick: So, in this example, there's $40,000 in three months, but if an AP is storming through that allocation, requests to review, and if everything checks out and the budget was there, we will likely allocate a further allocation. This will be judged and measured through feedback with the registered APs based on what their capacity is over the next couple of months, based on what their pipeline of work looks like over the next couple of months.
Nick: We'd love you to keep in mind that we're trying to keep the allocation review period as simple as possible. We don't want it to stop your progress but we also should note that you'll need to be aware of what your allocation is before you tell installers what's available. So, the idea is that an installer should not be installing outside of their allocation hoping for the best. We ask that you come to SV and you check that you can get a further allocation because you have more work coming in, and that's a way of us monitoring and managing the budget on this program.
Nick: So, claiming the bonus. Once you've done your installs, we’re talking about this stage. So APs may access its account at any time. We use the account to upload the relevant documentation. That will be via SmartyGrants system. You'll be dealing with that system when you go through the registration process under this program initially. When the AP submits the relevant information to the VEU registry to create the VEECs under VEU, it will also create the activity in its SV account by uploading the VEEC creation upload form with the following additional information.
Nick: So, the VEEC creation form that you usually deal with the ESC, we're asking for some further information to be added to that before it comes back to us, and that been the certificate ID numbers for the VEECs created. So, that validates to SV that they have actually been created with the ESC once we have that number that's automatically generated from the ESC's end. The number of VEECs created, we'll need that. The relevant multiplier factor applied as John just went over. We need to see and we want to see what sort of multiplier factor you're adding to this so we can check their calculations, and then the bonus calculated. So we'd have it all there on our spreadsheet to check out and validate the work that you're trying to submit to SV.
Nick: Once the VEECs have been registered on the VEU registry, the AP will then confirm this by updating the status of the activity on its SV account, and we'll submit it to invoice for the total amount of bonus claimed eligible VEU activities. So, the evidence to receive payment, to get your invoice paid will be the completed VEECs creation upload form containing the details listed above that we just went through. Signed customer declaration per site, and then a valid invoice, obviously from you as the AP to SV for the full amount. We at SV want to be able to reconcile your claim, and what we're going to be using for the most part is that spreadsheet that you provide the VEEC creation form that's been updated.
Nick: The payment procedures. So, invoices will be monthly. So, not to invoice SV as soon as your VEECs get registered and you can, not to invoice every time. We'll do it once per month. To claim the bonus, invoice must be submitted within three months of the VEEC registration if you want payment. So, we're asking then not to leave it for extended periods of time before your claim.
Nick: Invoices will be paid within 30 days of receipt of the valid invoice if not sooner. So, we will shoot for sooner, but that there are payment terms at SV. Again, an example of this is an AP submits an invoice at the end of the month for all the upgrades they've registered VEECs for across that month. So, obviously, you invoice really when you can once per month. SV will verify the information provided ensuring it has a VEEC creation upload form, customer declaration, and valid invoice, and then pay the total bonus within 30 days.
Nick: Now to promotion and engagement under the program. So, we've just started off. You've probably seen some of our material online so far, and that's what we're starting off with here. SV will coordinate the publicity and communication needed to promote engagement with the program. SV will provide AP with promotional material. At the moment, the promotional materials, what you see online, where we hope to get as soon as possible for those APs that are registered is in sort of lines or go and no go zones of what claims you can make as a registered AP under this program to promote the program.
Nick: We completely understand you want to create your own promotional material, but the key thing we're asking here is that the messages that you have in your promotional material for this program aren't in conflict with our messaging under the program. If there is something you want to depart or take a completely different approach on, we do ask that you go through SV first to get approval for that, but if you're replicating a lot of promotional material we already have available and we'll provide to you, then there's really no need to come and seek approval from SV every time you want to take a promotional approach with what we provide you.
Nick: It's important to note as well, SV will be engaging with intermediaries to assist in the promotion of APs and APs will be required to liaise with the intermediaries as necessary. As we're saying here, it's really good. There are resource available to APs to assist in connecting APs with interested small businesses. So, essentially, they will be the people on the ground, a large force of people across. It may be local governments. It may be business associations. It may be greenhouse gas alliances. We'll have to see what plays out in terms of the RFQ, but there'll be a resource there promoting the program to small business, and we're asking them to link up small businesses to APs registered under the program.
Nick: When an AP becomes registered under this program, we will be posting their details or their contact details on the SV website. So, when businesses come into SV, that will be our main touch point or referral as to APs in your area that can facilitate upgrades. For that reason, we fully expect that APs are able to respond to business inquiries related to the program across eligible VEU activities and regions which they can service as outlined in your registration form. So, what you'll see in your registration form is a question of what areas that you can service and what technologies you can service. We really want to be putting small business on the right path here and not directing them towards APs that can't actually deliver that service. So we ask and we sort of mandate that APs work with us in that attempt to have the ability to respond to inquiries and have either a customer relationship management system or an inquiry process that can actually facilitate those inquiries that may come in.
Nick: In terms of the install requirements and the consent and collection of data... What you can see before you now is an example of the customer declaration form. Really the primary requirement on this form is to get the business confirmed if they are in fact a small business or they're eligible. That they give permission for SV to use their energy information, to access their energy metadata. We ask that APs pre-fill these forms, but when it comes to the business signing off that they authorise SV to access their energy use data, it is optional for them. So, they are not precluded from receiving the bonus if they don't want to share that information, but what we do ask is that the installer does pre-fill it. So, it's there ready to go should the business agree to those terms.
Nick: It also outlines that you as the AP and the installer are going to be sharing this information that's captured on typically the VEU assignment form with SV as well. So, we need that approval from the business that they understand we will be receiving that information. And obviously there you see a signature of declaration they agree to these terms and conditions. So, that would be the form that will be issued to each business.
Nick: A key point here that's quite important is that we ask that the small business energy saver bonus value be passed on in full, and it'd be outlined in this document. So, the business can see how much bonus or financial incentive they're receiving under this program. That should also be the same value that's on the tax invoice for the installation. So, we will be checking where required this form against the invoice, should we request those invoices to be sent to us.
Nick: Installation requirements. So, again, going through some of the points here. All installs and upgrade activities under the program must comply with all relevant laws, standards, and codes of practice, and with establish ESC requirements under the VEU program. So, basically, what you currently do now, your requirements now, they still all apply under this program. Registered APs are expected to be able to deliver upgrades to small business in regions they indicate they can operate in. So, again, that's reiterating that if you feel you can't facilitate in any way, shape or form or region, then we just need to know that because we don't want to direct businesses in that region towards you if you can't deliver.
Nick: Eligible-energy upgrade activities will only attract the bonus for installs that occur after the program has been officially launched this weekend, and once an AP is registered to participate in the program. So, again, we ask that you must go through the registration process prior to offering or commencing these upgrades.
Nick: Auditing. So, where we try and validate work and all the work. SV may do spot checks and audits to ensure APs' compliance with the requirements of the program and we ask that you read and understand the guidelines and terms and conditions of participation under this program.
Nick: Registration process. So, this is kind of the next step for APs. You will follow the links on the SV website to the SmartyGrants system, read through the instructions, complete and submit your registration. And on submission, you will receive an electronic reply acknowledging receipt from SmartyGrants. We will also issue you with an account number and bonus allocation. So, it will be made clear to you at that time what your allocation is, what your delivery timeframe is from the point of registration.
Nick: If you need support setting up an account, please contact the Grants' inquiry email, or our 1300 number, which we'll pass on and registrations actually close August 31st, 2021.
Nick: Registration requirements. So, it's going to sort of touch on the registration form that you'll be presented with, and what our expectations are of the questions that are there. So, going through some of the questions, which activities are you currently accredited to undertake under the VEU program? Obviously, we just want to get a feel. While there's multiple activities eligible, we do understand that some APs will only be accredited for one or two or maybe three. So, we want you to outline that.
Nick: Which activities will you undertake through this program? Again, acknowledging that you might have multiple accreditations, but you might be looking at this and saying, "Look, there's really one activity that we're going to target here and that we know we can do." And we're trying to get a feel for that on our end. What's your potential to deliver on this program? What do you intend to do?
Nick: How many eligible VEU activities do you estimate you will complete within a month? Again, we're trying to understand what the pipeline or potential opportunities are, what you believe you can do, what your installers might provide your feedback with about estimated level of uptake from small businesses. And provide contact details of two recent recipients of energy efficient upgrades under the VEU program who we may contact as a reference. This is just providing SV with a bit of a reference check on APs as your new parties that we're dealing with.
Nick: Coverage. What regions can you service? Again, we really need to make it clear that if you put those regions up, they will translate almost directly to what regions you can service on our website, and you would be receiving inquiries or could be receiving inquiries from businesses who want upgrades in those areas. And we expect that you can deliver upgrades in those areas for specific technologies if that's what you outlined.
Nick: So, I think it's now getting close to question time. The next step from here is that we'll go through our questions. We'll open up... Heather will help us moderating the questions and raise them to John and myself from the chat. If you've got further inquiries beyond that, you can email us directly. The questions that we're unable to answer during this questions' part of the information session, we will put into what's called the information bulletin, which is basically like a question and answer. So, all of you in attendance can see if things aren't covered, have they been answered in that form? And that will be shared on the website with you. Registrations close the 31st of August, as we've said, and the program concludes the 31st of May, 2022. So, it's pretty tight timeframe for a program of this size. So, we all encourage you to get registered and obviously active as soon as possible. With that said, I guess I'll open up to questions now. And Heather, seeing if there were any questions people had that we can go through now.
Heather Willison: Thanks, Nick. We're pretty quiet so far. So maybe we've got one here to start off with, and if anyone else had any questions to raise, if they can just pop them in the Q&A chat function and we can get onto those next. So, we have got one here. Is GST added to the $40 bonus payment which APs invoice to SV at the end of the month?
Nick: That's a very good question. I would have to probably take that on note. I would have to probably take that on note and check with our finance team on that. Apologies. I can't answer that straight away. Again, we have a $5 million ex GST in funding for basically grants or incentive. Yeah, so I would have to check on that. Apologies, but we'll get back to you on that with either Q&A or the information bulletin.
Heather : Great. Thanks, Nick. So, no new questions come through at the moment. Maybe we'll give people a few minutes to type their questions in if they have some. Okay. So, I've got a question come through here. You've said that the $2,000 max cap per business, for example, is a business eligible to claim a water heating and space heating bonus. How will this be checked, particularly, in the case where the activities may be carried out by different APs, say six months apart?
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. Very good question. Thanks for raising that one. So, to put it simply, the cap is $2,000 per business, as you've alluded to. They can do more than one activity, but it is something we'll have to take on note about. I think you raised sort of a duplication issue there. Potential options include us having a declaration as part of the customer declaration that they acknowledged that they have not received an incentive before or under this program but we're mindful of... We do have ways we can check and balance up, but we will probably engage more with those APs that are registered once we're up and going to find out what the best way possible is to ensure that we don't get businesses going over the cap, but we also don't want to see APs out of pocket or at risk. So, I think that one I'll take on notice, but thanks for raising it and we're going to work through those sorts of duplication issues once we start moving into the program.
Heather: Okay. Thank you. And we've got another one coming through here. Do the multiplier figures come to us in a form of an Excel sheet and we apply info to that?
Nick: Yeah, that's a good question. I might throw to John. I think we have that table in an Excel form, but I think you might be asking the... The intent of this stage is that the VEU creation form that you upload to the ESC will have the multipliers and additional information populated that we're after and then be sent back to SV. What we're hoping to do, and we're working on currently is some examples of that. So, we will provide those examples as soon as possible just to give you a feel and look of what we're after, but because we're dealing with quite a few different activities, we don't intend to provide that to the APs in the first instance, if that makes sense. Again, we're working with the ESC about data and information sharing, so we hope to provide some examples for you. And I guess you could potentially use those examples once you start rolling out.
Heather: Thanks, Nick. So another one here. Does the bonus have to be paid as an upfront discount to the customer? Can it be paid after the bonus is approved by SV?
Nick: Upfront discount. Yes. Yeah, that's one of our conditions. So, the upfront discount, again, that'll be have to paid on in full, and then obviously once the compliance information is together, we will eventually pay APs down the track after they meet requirements. I guess, similar than what the VEU program works and particular APs, businesses models where they'll provide a forward discount and then obviously payout installers or the supply chain after that. So, we're taking on a similar approach here where it's an upfront discount.
Heather: Thank you. The next one might be best directed to John. So, you mentioned activity 17, shower heads will be included in this program but the question is, what is the bonus rate on the table for this activity?
John: Yeah, thanks for that question. With regards to the shower heads... Look, I think we realised that basically the VEECs attached to shower heads, pretty well make shower heads, pretty well cost-free anyway, so they won't actually be... We don't think there'll be a bonus on shower heads. Although we've mentioned that probably won't be a bonus on the shower heads, so effectively, I think we'll just be looking at the VEECs, the current VEECs available for shower heads to effectively make those costs free for businesses. But if there is a discrepancy there, then we could apply a multiplier to shower heads.
Heather: Great. Thanks, John. So another question coming through here for either of you. If the AP is not accredited for an activity, activity A, but is accredited for another activity, activity B, will the AP be able to receive bonus allocation for both activity A and B?
Nick: I'll probably might have to ask a question to that question. So, to be eligible to register under this program, an AP must be accredited to deliver any of the activities listed in the multiplier table and that sort of activity schedule. So that automatically means you can register and participate. Yeah. Then from there, my understanding is that as an AP, you have to be accredited for each of those activities. So, we only will pay for installations that have VEECs registered. So, for that reason, I think obviously as an AP, you can only register VEEC for a particular activity. I hope that makes sense, perhaps there might be another part of that question.
Heather: Thanks, Nick. I think that might clarify, but if there's anything else that needs to be asked, feel free to pop that in the Q&A for that question. So, another query come through here, is the multiplier figure added to all of the state?
John: So, the multiplier applies right across the state, depending on whether it's a metro installation or a regional installation. So, effectively, the multipliers that we've got in that table that applies to different activities, applies depending on whether it's metro-based or whether it's regional-based. So, the same multiplier would... If we're talking about regions, then the same multiplier would apply right across regional Victoria and obviously the bonus is then calculated based on the VEECs that are generated for that particular activity.
Heather: Great. Thanks, John. Another question come through here. If a business installs more than one heat pump, can they get the bonus for each installation?
John: Now, what we're saying is, it's a maximum $2,000 bonus per business. So, for argument's sake, if the... Depends on the price of the heat pump, but essentially, I would suggest that it would just be the one heat pump for that particular business that attracts the bonus, and the other pump that particular business would attract the VEECs only.
Heather: So, if the complete cost is up to that $2,000, could they claim the bonus for each installation as long as they're not maxing out past the 2,000.
John: Sorry. Yes, yes. That's possible.
John: So, if the bonus worked out to $1,000, let's say, per heat pump, depending on the installation cost, then yes, potentially, they could claim the two heat pumps to max out of that $2,000 cap.
Heather: Great. Thanks very much. One here in regards to insurance. So, the ESC currently require that APs hold $5 million of public liability insurance and products liability of 5 million. In your T's and C's, you're asking for 10 million of public and product liability insurance. That's just a question to confirm that we are requiring additional insurance over the requirements of the VEU. So, maybe one may need to take on notice, but Nick, could you answer that at the moment?
Nick: Yeah, look... Thanks for sending that through. We had received that prior to this session and apologies as time hasn't provided that we're able to get an answer for that right now. So, I'll have to take that one on notice and get back to you as soon as possible on that, particularly, acknowledging that those who want to register, if that's a pressing concern, then we will seek to get back to you as soon as possible in response to that question.
Heather: Great. Thank you so much. And is the $5 million budget for this program fixed or will there be more budget for this program in the future?
Nick: Sure. So, unfortunately, I don't have a crystal ball. I don't think anybody here does. At the moment, the budget is $5 million for this program. So, that is $5 million, and that is over a year. We are looking to reach up to 5,000 businesses with these $5 million funding, but yeah, there is no announcement or any updates in terms of future funding other than the $5 million and the time period that we have now.
Heather: Great. Thank you. There's just a question about pending accreditation, which we may have covered sort of before, but the question is, if an AP isn't accredited for some activities, but has submitted approval for those activities, would they still be able to register considering that the ESC may take up to 12 months to approve new accreditations?
Nick: We need APs to be accredited at the time that they register. Further to that, we need APs to have experience in having delivered any of those upgrades. So, in that case, if someone has something pending with the ESC, unfortunately, no. If they receive confirmation, then they become registered and get some experience prior to August 31st, then there is that potential, I think, in that situation.
Heather: Great. Thank you very much.
Nick: How are we looking there?
Heather Yeah, we've got a couple more dropping through, so I think you have sort of answered this in the presentation, but how do you define the number of employees? For example, some companies may have casual and/or part-time, is the cap based on full-time employees?
Nick: Yes. Yes. So, as I just sort of briefly mentioned verbally during the presentation, we're not defining fixed term or casual employees. What we ask is that the installer and the AP make the best judgment they can about ascertaining if it's a small business. And then the compliance requirement in this case is that the business signs the customer declaration stating that they have one to 20 employees. So, I think it would be something rightfully so that the installer and the AP really has to confirm upfront with the business and, again, we're not creating fixed terms here at full-time employees or casual staff. So, there's flexibility there.
Heather: Thank you. That's all the questions we have at the moment. Maybe we can give people a couple more minutes to see if there's anything else they would like to raise.
Nick Balgue: I think we might be nearing it in there, Heather, if there's no more questions.
Heather No, nothing come through at the moment. I'll just make sure we've covered everything. I think besides the ones we need to take on notice, everything's slowing down.
Nick: Good. As we stated earlier, there's the Grants' inquiry email address. That's a primary email address we use. If you can just make it clear if you do email SV that it is about this program, The Small Business Energy Saver Program and then we'll endeavor to respond to those questions as soon as possible. And as I stated, we have an information bulletin, which is again, similar to an FAQ, where the questions we'll take on notice, we'll address in the information bulletin. I think that if there's no pressing questions coming through... I see some new ones coming through, but unless there's anything pressing coming through, I guess we might wind it up and thank you for your time. Heather, what's your thoughts? Do we have any more coming through or we'll close it off there?
Heather Happy to close it off there, Nick. And we can take further to the email address if thatt works.
Nick: Great. Yeah. Thanks, Heather. Thanks, John. Thank you everybody for coming. Really appreciate your time. Looking forward to hearing from you soon as soon as registrations come in. You've got your Grants' inquiries line. If you check out our website, you can find further information. Hope you enjoy the rest of the day, and thanks again for joining us today. Take care.
The latest data highlighting Victorian Energy Upgrades business activity shows that since the launch of the Small Business Energy Saver Program, Accredited Providers have been busy delivering upgrades for small businesses, particularly heat pumps and refrigerated display cabinets. As the program ramps up, we are expecting to see an increase in all eligible activities.
Sign up by 31 August 2021 to start delivering Victorian Energy Upgrade activities across Victorian small businesses.
Sustainability Victoria has contracted eight intermediaries to promote the program to small businesses. These intermediaries will connect businesses with registered Accredited Providers and provide information about potential upgrades. This information will include details of existing equipment (photos and specifications).
Sustainability Victoria has sent emails to more than 300 businesses that have expressed interest in participating in the program. This included contact details for registered Accredited Providers in their region and information on what they will need to provide to Accredited Providers to have upgrades performed at their business.
Sustainability Victoria would like to hear from Accredited Providers regarding any specific promotional content or guidance that may assist you in delivering the Small Business Energy Saver program.
If, after registering for the program, I receive accreditation for an additional eligible Victorian Energy Upgrade activity, will I need to complete a new registration form?
No, you can register for the program noting the eligible Victorian Energy Upgrade activities you are currently approved for. Should you receive additional accreditation while the program is active, please contact us to advise of your new accreditation so that we can update your information on our website.
Under the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, I am required to hold $5 million public liability insurance. Do I need to increase my cover to $10 million to participate in this program?
No. We reviewed this requirement and amended the Registration form and Terms and Conditions of Participation (docx, 87kB) (pdf, 155kB) to reflect a minimum requirement of $5 million for public and products liability insurance. This is in line with the requirements under the Victorian Energy Upgrades program.
Do I need professional indemnity insurance?
You are required to hold professional indemnity insurance if the particular nature of your business requires you to hold such insurance (ie if you are in the business of providing professional advice).
We have revised the Terms and Conditions of Participation so that Accredited Persons must maintain all relevant insurances that they would be reasonably expected to maintain and this may or may not include professional indemnity insurance.
Please let us know in your registration form if you are not required to have professional indemnity insurance. If you do have such insurance, we have revised the minimum level to $2 million.
When can an Accredited Person/Installer start eligible Victorian Energy Upgrade activities under the program?
Activities can start from the date that Sustainability Victoria confirms your registration in the program. Registration will be confirmed via an email from SmartyGrants along with details of your initial delivery period, allocation and account details.
How do I access my Sustainability Victoria account to upload invoices and complete the required forms?
Your Sustainability Victoria account is accessed through the SmartyGrants account that you created when you completed the registration form to register your interest in the program.
If you need assistance to reset your password or access your account, please contact SmartyGrants on 03 9320 6888. You can log in to your account to view your submissions and upload the required documents to claim your Bonus.
For assistance with uploading documents and understanding the process to claim the Bonus, please email email@example.com or call 03 8626 8700 to speak with a member of the Small Business Energy Saver team.
How do you define the number of employees in a small business?
Under the program, a small business is defined as having between 1 – 19 employees. This is further defined as Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE) or the hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.
An FTE of 1.0 is equivalent to a full-time worker of approximately 40 hours per week.
Calculating FTE Example: This calculation is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. For example, you have three employees working 40, 40 and 20 hours per week respectively, giving you 100 hours per week in total.
Assuming full-time hours are 40 hours per week, your full-time equivalent calculation is 100 hours divided by 40 hours which equals 2.5 FTE.
How do you
define a residential vs. non-residential small business under the program?
The program follows the Essential Services Commission classification of buildings. Any small business deemed residential under this classification will not be eligible to participate in the program. See section 3.4 of the Program guidelines and more details from the Essential Services Commission below.
In some cases (e.g., hotels, motels and aged care facilities), part of a business can be considered residential and part non-residential. Therefore, eligible Victorian Energy Upgrades activities performed in rooms at these facilities would not be eligible for a Bonus under the program, but would be eligible if undertaken in common areas (e.g., kitchen, laundry and foyer).
Under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Act, residential premises are defined as a Class 1, 2, 3 or 4 building under the National Construction Code, previously the Building Code of Australia. Further information regarding the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Act and the regulations is available on the ESC website.
Are not-for-profits eligible under the program?
Yes, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria outlined in the Program Guidelines:
How will the $2,000 cap per business be monitored?
The Customer Declaration form (docx, 109kB) requires the small business customer to declare any previous Bonus they have received under the program and to confirm that they have not exceeded the $2,000 cap by requesting the current upgrade (Victorian Energy Upgrade activity).
What if the small business is operating out of rented or leased premises?
If the small business does not own the premises and occupies under a lease or licence, they must ensure they are authorised to have the installation activities carried out at the premises.
Should I leave some sections of the Customer Declaration form blank if the small business does not consent to sharing its data?
No. All sections of the Customer Declaration should still be completed, including the energy consumption and billing details. Accredited Providers/Installers should complete all sections except the Authorisation and Declaration section at the time of installation. Then, following installation, the small business must complete the Authorisation and Declaration section, including all checkboxes.
Am I required to pass on the Bonus to the small business customer at the installation stage?
No. We have recently introduced a delayed cash payment option in addition to the current point-of-sale discount on installations. This means you can either pass on the Bonus to the small business customer at the installation stage or following the registration of VEECs with the Essential Services Commission.
If you choose to provide a delayed cash payment, customers must agree to this on the Customer Declaration form, and you must provide SV with a bank payment transfer confirmation when claiming the Bonus, as evidence that you have passed the Bonus on to the customer.
Is GST added to the Bonus payment which Accredited Persons invoice to Sustainability Victoria at the end of the month?
Yes. You are required to add GST to the request for Bonus payment and provide us with a tax invoice (see clause 15 of the Terms and Conditions of Participation (docx, 87kB) (pdf, 155kB)).
When invoicing Sustainability Victoria under the program, you may include the following description of services (or similar): Supplies made by [your business name] to Sustainability Victoria under the terms and conditions of the Small Business Energy Saver Program.
We updated the Terms and Conditions of Participation (docx, 87kB) (pdf, 155kB) to reflect revised changes to the insurance
requirements, to clarify the GST requirements and advise of the new delayed cash payment option.
You must take steps to ensure that the Bonus has been or will be passed on as a discount to the small business customer.
This ensures that the Bonus is treated as consideration for a taxable supply by you.
Reference to point-of-sale removed.
Reduced public and products liability insurance requirement from $10 million to $5 million.
The insurance limit was reduced to make it consistent with Victorian Energy Upgrades program requirements.
In relation to professional indemnity insurance, add the words, “where applicable”. Change the minimum requirement to $2 million, if it is applicable.
The Victorian Energy Upgrades program does not mandate professional indemnity insurance and some providers’ business might not require professional indemnity insurance coverage.
Accredited Persons are required to have all relevant insurances that are appropriate for the nature of their activities and this may or may not include professional indemnity insurance, depending on their particular business.
The Bonus paid by Sustainability Victoria is consideration for a taxable supply by you to Sustainability Victoria.
This change, together with clause 3.7, ensures that the Bonus is consideration for a taxable supply. Sustainability Victoria is required to pay you a GST amount on top of the Bonus.
The party making the supply must issue a tax invoice.
This change clarifies that a tax invoice is required so that Sustainability Victoria can claim an input tax credit.