Following the introduction of the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme Regulations 2018 (RHI) we are increasingly seeing that both potential applicants and current scheme members are having to challenge decisions made by Ofgem. This article looks at the steps that you can take if you are unhappy with a decision Ofgem has made in relation to your RHI accreditation/ application for accreditation.
What can you do?
1. Formal Review
You have a right to ask Ofgem to undertake a formal review of its initial decision if you do not agree with Ofgem’s findings. There are strict deadlines within which to do so and usually you must complete and submit a Request Form within 28 days of receipt of the decision. Specific information must be provided to the Formal Review Officer (FRO) and therefore it is important that you read the guidelines and RHI Regulations carefully. Failure to comply with deadlines can result in your request for a Formal Review being dismissed. It is therefore often appropriate to seek legal advice.
If you are not happy with a decision made by the FRO and wish to provide further evidence in support of your position, you have the option of requesting a further Formal Review. The FRO will take into consideration any additional information and evidence submitted and if the FRO is satisfied it may reconsider the initial decision based on the additional information provided.
2. Statutory Review
If you are unsuccessful at Formal Review then you may file a request for a Statutory Review of the decision. Such a request must be submitted within 28 days of the original decision or formal review decision. The decision will be reviewed by a Statutory Review Officer (SRO) who will not have any prior involvement in the case. The decision of the SRO is however final and will not be subject to further internal review by Ofgem.
You do have the right to by-pass the Formal Review process and request a Statutory Review of Ofgem’s decision but given that the SRO’s decision is final it is often better to use the Formal Review process in the first instance.
3. Parliamentary Ombudsman via your local MP
If you are not satisfied with the decision by the SRO, you can make a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. You will need to complete the relevant form and ask your local MP to sign it. We would therefore recommend that you speak to your local MP early on in the review process where possible.
How can we help you?
Our Energy Team and Dispute Resolution Team have considerable experiencing assisting clients with the various review procedures. Our recent work includes:
• Appealing decisions by Ofgem to reject entry to the RHI Scheme
• Challenging the revocation of an accreditation by Ofgem
• Advising client about their ongoing compliance obligations under the RHI Scheme
Please do get in touch with the Energy Team and Dispute Resolution Teams at Stephens Scown if you are experiencing difficulties with accreditation under the RHI Scheme or any other issues.
Sonya Bedford MBE is a partner and head of the energy team at Stephens Scown. For advice on how a Renewable Heat Incentive regulations or if you have a question about an existing energy project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 01392 210700.
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