In our prior articles on HomeStar, we did an overview of the bill introduced in the Senate, followed up by a list of major issues and our suggestions. Well, it appears that the bill in the House of Representatives (HR 5019) is actually set to be voted on May 6th, while the Senate bill is still sitting there.
While I am not surprised that the House has moved faster than the Senate, I am surprised at how fast it went through, and it would appear that I am not the only one. EfficiencyFirst.org was the group that actually broke the news last night, is also the same group that has been working on a getting a group to go to DC for a HomeStar Advocacy Days on May 19th-20th to get the bill passed.
While the bills do differ in the layout, with a few little quirks or tweaks here and there, for all intensive purposes, they are the same. One of the key items to watch for is which amendments have been added, or language changed by any of the committees. Currently there does not appear that any changes have been made, which will leave any needed fixes or tweaks to the Senate, and the Conference Committee to iron out.
I would say that there is quite a bit of support for the bill, not only in House, but also from the Energy Efficiency groups, equipment manufacturers, and suppliers. I think the House will pass their version, but it will run into problems in the Senate. If you would to voice support for the bill, this has been a popular page today: http://www.enalasys.com/ContractorNews/homestar-update.html
The National Organizations:
I swear I feel like a news reporter today with secret sources & transcripts, bit seeing the information is still not public… one of the National Manufacturing groups is out there looking for signatories on a “concern” letter. I know they have floated it to one of the major contractor groups, and a few “others” at least. The major concerns or changes they feel are needed;
- Eliminate the Requirement for BPI Accreditation for Accredited Contractors in the Gold Star Program – no big surprise there, I happen to agree with them on that issue
- Redefine a Certified Workforce
- “The term ‘certified workforce’ means a residential energy efficiency construction workforce that is entirely certified in the appropriate job skills for all employees performing installation work under”
- Interesting point that this excludes apprentices or trainees from doing the work with supervision
- Reverse the Safety Valve
- they want any money left in the Gold program to be able to flow into the Silver program at the end of the year
- One major problem with that, the Silver program only lasts a year, thus any money still left has to flow to the Gold program or back to the treasury
Now, while I agree that changes need to be made, why are you bringing them up now? Where have you been hiding? I know some of the groups were at some of the HomeStar meetings, because they were there to discuss the issues the RRP might impose on the ability of contractors to perform the work. Why wasn’t this addressed at the same time?
If you look at most of these groups “why join us” brochures, one reason they state is that a single manufacturer or contractor, can’t keep up with all the regulations and/ or we will be your voice in Washington, or you’re States Capitals. Well, all I can say is that you all have a long ways to go and it is a lot easier to change something when it is on the drawing board, not after it has been built.