4th April 2017

Following a website notice posted by the Department for the Economy regarding the new terms and conditions for accredited members of the Renewable Heat Incentive’s Tariff scheme via The Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017, which came into effect on 1st April 2017, a spokesperson for the not-for-profit Renewable Heat Association of Northern Ireland (RHANI) said:

“This is a very confusing notice by the Department* and it is unknown which senior civil servant ordered the implementation of the change.

The Renewable Heat Association understands that the Department has not written to scheme participants but has instead published on a series of websites new rules and regulations regarding the RHI and its tariff structure which are very complex and unclear. Some rules also seem to apply retrospectively which is very concerning and may not be legal.

We urge all RHI scheme participants to contact the Department officials responsible for the scheme and for implementing the changes to seek written clarification for their individual circumstances.

RHANI has already had reports of immediate redundancies and winding up of businesses from a number of members due to the financial uncertainty of changes to their tariff.  Sectors including agriculture, which traditionally operates on a very low-profit margin are badly affected by the imposition of these changes and it appears that a number of business cannot now service the bank loans that they took out to buy the specialist biomass boilers required for this government promoted incentive scheme.

RHANI will continue its efforts in the courts and more broadly as the voice of Renewable Heat users throughout Northern Ireland.”

*Text from the Department of the Economy:

“For those installations accredited before 18th November 2015, all payments for heat generated prior to the 1 April 2017 will be paid in accordance with the Renewable Heat Incentive Schemes (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015. The cap initiating the tiered payments as set out in the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017 would only be effective (for the purposes of payment) from 1 April 2017, even if the participant had reached the cap a number of months previously.  The portion of the payment up to 1 April 2017 would be uncapped, and the portion after 1 April 2017 paid at the rate applicable had a cap been implemented from the anniversary date of accreditation. On the first anniversary date of accreditation after 1 April 2017 the usage is then started from zero and then the ‘tiered’ tariff applied until the next anniversary of the installation’s accreditation or a further change in the Regulations.”

 

Notes to Editors

  • RHANI is a not-for-profit group established to represent and promote the legitimate user of sustainable energy.
  • The DfE notifications of the scheme changes are to be found on the DfE website and on the legislation web pages – links below.

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/renewable-heat-incentive-non-domestic-customers

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisr/2017/32/pdfs/nisr_20170032_en.pdf

  • RHANI sought a Judicial Review of the Department’s handling of client information.  That complaint was upheld and costs were made against the Department of the Economy.
  • RHANI is taking a 2nd judicial review against the Department’s actions and behaviours regarding changes to the scheme.  This Judicial Review will be held in June 2017.