News and Updates

Register Now for Technical Training

Monday, February 23, 2015

Join Us For An Informative and Interactive Technical Training Session!

The Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade Program team invites you to a technical training session. This is an excellent opportunity to refresh your skills, or to provide new employees with the technical knowledge they need to support Home Upgrade projects. Breakfast will be provided.

This session will focus on the New Advanced Home Upgrade Software options available, and stream the live Statewide webinar. You will have the opportunity to discuss these new options as a group and ask questions with program administrators in the room.

Other topics that will be discussed during this training session include: Program Measure Updates, Heat Producing Devices (HPD) issues, Thermostatic Control Valves (TCV's) installation, and ASHRAE 62.2-2013 airflow standard.

You will receive 1.75 Building Performance Institute (BPI) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for attending the session in person!

 

When: Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Where: SoCalGas Energy Resource Center, 9240 Firestone Blvd., Downey, CA 90241

Register now to reserve your spot!

Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade Newsletter - Southern California

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Participating Contractor,

Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) welcome all Participating Contractors to a new year with Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade! Among many developments in the works for 2015 is one item we're very excited to share with Participating Contractors: discounts on home performance tools and products. Our distributor partners are strong supporters of the program and Participating Contractors, and many have provided exclusive discounts on products you use every day when completing home assessments, safety testing and installation of qualifying measures. Visit our Product Distributor Discounts page to learn more. Make sure you are logged in to the contractor website - these discounts are for Participating Contractors only! Your account manager can provide additional information or answer questions about the discounts and how you can take advantage of them!

A new feature starting this issue is Quick Tips from the QC team. Also, the co-op marketing program available through The Energy Network has some important changes for 2015; please read below.

SCE, SoCalGas and the entire program team look forward to working with you during 2015 to help your company grow and succeed with Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade!

Program Participation Updates and Reminders

No More Automatic Cancellations

As a reminder: we have eliminated all "on hold" and "cancelled" statuses along with their respective automatic emails and actions effective February 9, 2015.

The updated workflow proceeds as follows:

  • Once the project enters "under construction" status, the Participating Contractor has 90 calendar days to complete the energy efficiency upgrades and submit the application information (current requirement).
  • If the application is not submitted within 90 calendar days, the project will automatically be reclassified as "pending action" (no emails will be sent out when this happens).
  • The project will stay in "pending action" status until that action is completed, and then the project will resume normal processing.
  • Participating Contractors whose projects stay in "pending action" for an extended amount of time will be contacted by their Account Management Team to help resolve the issue.
  • Projects will only be cancelled after an in-depth conversation between the Participating Contractor and the Account Management Team has occurred and the Participating Contractor indicates that the project will not be completed.

As always, keep in mind that customer satisfaction is our number one priority - completing projects in a timely manner is crucial to maintain high customer satisfaction. Happy customers lead to more referrals and business for you!

Additional $500 max on every project!

SCE and Southern SoCalGas want to remind all Participating Contractors that the maximum incentive for SCE/SoCalGas and SoCalGas-only projects has been raised from $2,500 to $3,000. In addition, we are no longer using the tiered incentive approach, and have moved to the dollars per point method to calculate incentives. This new method will result in an overall increase in average rebates and will allow you to avoid that sinking feeling when you just miss the reaching that next tier.

Each point in Home Upgrade is now worth $10. So, for example, if your measure mix results in a total of 135 points, your customer's incentive will be $1,350, where previously this scenario would only provide a $1,000 incentive. 

Co-Op Matching Funds from The Energy Network

Through the Contractor Co-Op program, Participating Contractors can receive up to $5,000 in matching funds! New and existing Co-Op Contractors must read through the Guidelines, sign the updated Participation Agreement, and email the agreement to The Energy Network. Marketing projects must continue to meet guidelines as set forth in the Home Upgrade Graphic Standards, and must use current approved logos. Training and equipment purchases are also eligible for Co-Op Matching Funds. See pages 6-7 in the Guidelines for a sample list of options. For assistance, please contact The Energy Network by email or by phone at (877) 785-2237.

Invoices and Tax Credits

Make sure when your scope of work includes both Home Upgrade measures and measures that are eligible for tax credits (solar thermal and PV) that your customer invoice clearly distinguishes between the cost of the items that are eligible for tax credits and the cost of the Home Upgrade measures. Tax credits are calculated based on the cost of the solar measures only. Bundling of Home Upgrade and Solar costs can result in incorrect calculation of the tax credit and serious issues for both the homeowner and the Participating Contractor. Keep this important requirement in mind as we approach the upcoming tax season. 

Pool Pumps Update 

Starting March 1, 2015, the SCE/SoCalGas Energy Upgrade California Advanced Home Upgrade program will require manual kWh entry of the variable speed pool pumps deemed kWh savings into EnergyPro v5 under the Alternatives Tab as a "Custom" alternative kWh measure. The variable speed pool pump deemed kWh savings amount is based on the SCE Work Paper SCE13WP001, which indicates that the deemed energy savings per installed variable speed pool pump replacing a single speed pool pump is 1686 kWh/year (for existing heating only homes) or 4,215 kWh/year (for existing heating/cooling homes).

SoCalGas Program Reminders

Don't forget! SoCalGas is offering the FULL incentive amount all year! This additional funding can help boost your sales and help keep your customers smiling with bigger incentives. During this promotion, incentive levels in areas where SoCalGas provides gas service and electrical service is provided by a municipal utility (e.g., Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Lompoc, Anaheim, etc.) will continue to be funded at 100 percent of the statewide levels all year in 2015! Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to sell projects in areas with mature homes that stand to benefit greatly from our program.

Also: remember that as of December 1, 2014, Duct Insulation qualifies as a shell measure for your SoCalGas/municipal utility projects. This change means that a project consisting of a new furnace, new AC, and new ducts (sealed and insulated in accordance with Title 24 and program requirements) now qualifies for an incentive through Home Upgrade!

Quick Tips from the QC Team

We are happy to welcome the QC team as contributors to the program newsletter. QC is vital to documenting energy savings and securing the future of home performance - but it can also be challenging and time consuming. The recent change to allow collaboration during QC inspections has received rave reviews from Participating Contractors, and we are already seeing reductions in processing times. Below are three quick tips from your Home Upgrade QC team. As always, the team is here to provide support and guidance as you complete Home Upgrade projects.

Electronic Gas Leak Detectors: Electronic Gas Leak Detectors (sniffers) are great tools for inspectors, but how do you know if they are working properly? Use this simple procedure each time you're ready to check for a gas leak and you can be sure your sniffer will identify a gas leak if one is present.

Turn on the unit and let it run through its start-up cycle. Once the unit is ready for testing, hold it close to an area with known Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The easiest way to do this would be to hold the sensor near the gas cap of your vehicle, crack the cap open slightly (if it's an unvented cap), or hold an open Sharpie by the sensor. If the detector sounds, you can rest assured that it will sound in the presence of a natural gas leak.

Sealing Supply Registers: Running around a house with a ladder or step stool takes time when you are prepping for a duct test. At times, you might encounter a large piece of furniture prohibiting you from getting close enough to the register to tape seal it. There is a simple, quick, safe, and inexpensive way to get around these issues.

Get yourself a painter's pole, or screw on push broom handle and a couple of paint rollers. If you are working in a home with high ceilings, try using an extension pole. Tear off a piece of duct mask and lay it over the roller. Hold it against the register and simply roll the duct mask across the register to make the seal. To remove the duct mask, slide the roller cover off the roller frame and stick it to the duct mask, then gently work the material off the register and move on to the next one.

CAS/CAZ Testing Time-Saver: When performing combustion testing, try this. Begin at the furnace and check your ambient CO, spillage, draft pressure, CO measurements in the stack, and CO measurement in the nearest supply register. A CO measurement in the supply register above the ambient CO measurement would indicate a cracked heat exchanger and/or communication if the system were back-drafting. If you started by testing the other gas appliances and they were creating CO, that CO could have circulated through the home and entered the duct system. If this happened and you tested the furnace, you could get a false CO measurement in the supply register. This would lead you to believe a cracked heat exchanger and/or communication when that is not the case. If this happens, you need to thoroughly ventilate the home and retest the furnace to get an additional CO reading in the supply register. Open all windows and turn on all the exhaust fans and furnace fan to pull fresh air into the home and reduce the ambient co levels.

Ask the QC Team!

Have a tricky question you can't answer or a problem that keeps coming up on your projects? Ask our QC Team! Email us with any questions you would like to see addressed in future newsletters. 

Current Promotions

SCE/SoCalGas Joint Program 15-point bonus: Promo code = points

Free Lighting Products: Up to $300 in select lighting products are available for Home Upgrade jobs of 150 points or more. Just enter American Lighting or WaltersLighting in the promo code area. Review the side-by-side comparison of the products by American and Walters along with directions on how to participate, and contact your account manager with any questions.

Distributor Discounts: Visit the Distributor Discounts Page for more information on the numerous discounts available from our distributor partners. Please note: you must be logged in to the contractor website to view this page. 

Upcoming Events and Training Opportunities

Upcoming Seminars at the SoCalGas Energy Resources Center ( ERC)

Courses are updated frequently - be sure to visit the ERC page often.

SCE's Energy Education Centers - Resources and Seminars

Courses are available in Irwindale and Tulare. In addition, the SCE Tool Lending Library is available at the Tulare Location.

Building Performance Institute CEUs - Search for courses in your area

 

Make sure to visit our news and events sections for the latest information.  

Marketing Updates

Participating Contractor Marketing Materials

Your account manager has a limited number of branded marketing materials available for Participating Contractors. Contact us to request your copies of the trifold brochure and infographic rack card featuring program details and participation benefits for customers. Both pieces are co-branded with Home Upgrade and SCE/SoCalGas logos - helping you to make the connection between the program and the utilities with your customers, and are available for download on the contractor resources page.

Statewide Program Marketing

All marketing materials that feature the Home Upgrade logo must be updated to use the current approved logo at this time. The current approved logo is available in .jpg format on the contractor resources page. If you need a higher resolution logo, the statewide branding guidelines or other information, visit the statewide resources page. Also, please remember that all materials that have the Home Upgrade logo on then must be reviewed by the statewide branding team. Contact us if you need assistance or guidance with Home Upgrade co-branding. Please watch your inbox for additional details coming from the statewide branding team soon.

Marketing Tip: Strong Calls to Action in Customer E-Newsletters

The biggest mistake that marketers make is using weak, passive language in their Call to Action (CTA). A classic example is the infamous "click here." While "click here" may seem like a great CTA (in that it tells a subscriber exactly what to do), it really doesn't give a reader any incentive for taking action. It doesn't describe the value or what will happen if, in fact, they do click the link. Instead, you should use language that describes why a user should follow a link. Use verbs to describe what they will do by interacting with the CTA and, if possible, create a sense of urgency or timeliness. Source: Litmus.com. Read the entire article.

Congrats and Kudos

Congratulations to all Participating Contractors who received awards at our Fourth Annual Contractor Appreciation Night, held in December. Make sure your company wins an award this year! Talk to your Account Manager to find out how.

Update on Email Communications to your Customers

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dear Participating Contractor,

In an effort to ensure that projects move along at a steady pace, several time limits that triggered automatic emails to Participating Contractors and customers were previously included in our project processes. These emails often contained verbiage that customers and Participating Contractors found concerning. Due to the amount of feedback program staff have received regarding how this approach creates additional work for contractors and raises concerns about the program in the eyes of the customer, we have eliminated all "on hold" and "cancelled" statuses along with their respective automatic emails and actions effective February 9, 2015.

The updated workflow will proceed as follows:

  • Once the project enters "under construction" status, the Participating Contractor has 90 calendar days to complete the energy efficiency upgrades and submit the application information (current requirement).
  • If the application is not submitted within 90 calendar days, the project will automatically be reclassified as "pending action" (no emails will be sent out when this happens).
  • The project will stay in "pending action" status until that action is completed, and then the project will resume normal processing.
  • Participating Contractors whose projects stay in "pending action" for an extended amount of time will be contacted by their Account Management Team to help resolve the issue.
  • Projects will only be cancelled after an in-depth conversation between the Participating Contractor and the Account Management Team has occurred and the Participating Contractor indicates that the project will not be completed.

As always, keep in mind that customer satisfaction is our number one priority - completing projects in a timely manner is crucial to maintain high customer satisfaction. Happy customers lead to more referrals and increased business for you!

Wow! Increased Home Upgrade incentives effective immediately!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Make Bigger Profits on Every Project in 2015 with Increased Incentives!

Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) are thrilled to announce a BIG change to the SCE/SoCalGas and SoCalGas-only Home Upgrade programs for 2015 that can help you generate additional sales and greater profits on every project.

Effective immediately, the maximum incentive for SCE/SoCalGas and SoCalGas-only projects has been raised from $2,500 to $3,000!

In addition, we are no longer going to use the tiered incentive approach, and have moved to the dollars per point method to calculate incentives. This new method will result in an overall increase in average rebates and will allow you to avoid that sinking feeling when you just miss the reaching that next tier.

Effective immediately, each point in Home Upgrade will be worth 10 dollars. So, for example, if your measure mix results in a total of 135 points, your customer's incentive will be $1,350, where previously it would only provide a $1,000 incentive. The changes have already been made to the WebApp, so higher incentives are already being issued.

You'll now notice revisions in the WebApp when you submit projects. The changes apply to both current projects in process and new projects submitted on or after January 15.      

New Home Upgrade Info Sheets that reflect these changes are in development and will be provided soon.

SCE/SoCalGas Program Points Adjustment February 2014

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Home Upgrade Points Structure Update   

Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) are happy to announce that effective February 3, 2014, the SCE/SoCalGas Energy Upgrade California™ Home Upgrade program will implement a modified point structure for Home Upgrade projects. The new structure will be consistent with the point structure currently being used by The Energy Network, SoCalGas and Home Upgrade programs in Northern California.

The table below presents the Home Upgrade measures with a side-by-side comparison of the current point structure and the new point structure.

Overall, the new point structure will result in higher overall point values, thereby increasing incentive amounts for your Home Upgrade projects. Please note: the maximum incentive amount of $2,500 and all other program requirements are unchanged. Please note that the launch promotion is discontinued with the implementation of the new points structure.  

Please contact your account manager if you have any questions.   

Category

 

Measure

 

Technical Specifications

 

Current Point Value

 

New Point Value

 

Base Measures (one or more)

 

Duct Leakage

 

Seal to ≤10%

 

15

 

25

 

Duct Leakage

 

Seal to ≤6%

 

25

 

65

 

Whole Building Air Sealing

 

≥15% leakage reduction from vintage table defaults (4.15 SLA)

 

15

 

25

 

Whole Building Air Sealing

 

≥30% leakage reduction from vintage table defaults (4.15 SLA)

 

30

 

45

 

Attic Insulation and Attic Air Plane Sealing

 

Insulation ≥R-30 (≥R-38 in climate zones 1 & 11-16)

 

25

 

55

 

Flex Measures

 

Wall Insulation

 

Insulate ≥R-13

 

15

 

50

 

Floor Insulation

 

Insulate ≥R-19

 

70

 

40

 

Duct Insulation

 

Insulate ≥R-8

 

25

 

40

 

Furnace

 

≥92% AFUE

 

45

 

60

 

Air Conditioner

 

≥14 SEER/12 EER

 

10

 

65

 

Gas Storage Water Heater

 

EF ≥0.62 to ≤0.66 & ≥30 gallons

 

20

 

20

 

Gas Storage Water Heater

 

EF ≥0.67 & 30 gallons

 

35

 

35

 

Gas On-Demand Water Heater

 

EF ≥0.82

 

90

 

90

 

Electric Storage Water Heater

 

EF ≥0.93 & 40 gallons

 

20

 

40

 

Base Measure Kickers

 

Second Base Measure

 

Additional for second base measure

 

15

 

15

 

Third Base Measure

 

Additional for third base measure

 

20

 

20

 

Energy Upgrade California™ Home Upgrade provides assistance and incentives for home improvement projects that can reduce energy use and make homes more comfortable. This statewide program is managed locally by utilities and regional energy networks and directed by the California Public Utilities Commission in collaboration with the California Energy Commission. Funding comes from utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.  Incentives are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and are effective until funding is expended or the