News and Updates

April 3 Program Update

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April 3 Program Update

Greetings to all Participating Contractors in the Southern California Edison (SCE) and SoCalGas® Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade Program. With spring already here, we are happy to inform you of the program updates to keep you ready for the season. Thank you to all contractors who have been actively inquiring about the Program and are eager to give their customers energy savings and comfort. Please note important updates below and as always, reach out to your account management team with any questions.

SoCalGas Program Updates

Please note that the updates listed for the SCE/SoCalGas program below also apply to the SoCalGas only program. If you have any questions, please contact your Account Management team.

Southern California Electric (SCE)/SoCalGas Program Updates

Mold Remediation

Previously, when black organic matter (BOM) was identified in a household, the program required remediation of the BOM. Contractors were required to submit an abatement letter from a qualified abatement company describing the type of matter that was found, the location, and how it was remediated prior to the project moving forward. After an in-depth consultation with the Building Performance Institute (BPI) the program has determined this process will no longer be required.

The program still strongly recommends in cases where BOM is discovered, that the BOM be inspected and remediated by a qualified abatement company.

When the contractor, auditor or Energy Field Technician identifies BOM, a Notice of Unsatisfactory Conditions (NOUC) must be completed. The comments section of the NOUC should be used to describe the BOM, its location, and a recommendation that it be inspected and remediated. The completed NOUC must be signed by the homeowner or the "Customer refused to sign" box shall be checked. One copy of the form is to be left with the homeowner, one copy is for the contractor or auditor's files and one copy must be submitted to the program. A blank copy of the Notice of Unsatisfactory Condition can be found on the contractor website here.

New Efficiency Rating for Water Heaters

In June 2017, the Department of Energy (DOE) instituted new rules that regulate the testing and rating of water heaters. In the past, water heaters were rated by Energy Factor (EF). Until recently, EF was the only rating method used to determine water heating efficiency. New test methods and labeling requirements now in effect utilize Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) as a measure of efficiency.

Effective immediately, the following policy regarding water heater efficiency will replace the current program policy:

  • ENERGY STAR® has minimum specifications for water heaters rated in both EF and UEF. Any water heater submitted to the Program rated in UEF which meets the current minimum ENERGY STAR UEF standard shall be approved by the program.
  • Any water heater that is rated in EF and meets the current program minimum EF standard shall continue to be approved by the program. UEF criteria will only be used when an EF rating is not available.
  • When a water heater is installed in an Advanced Home Upgrade Path project and it is rated in UEF, the auditor shall enter the actual UEF value of the water heater into the energy modeling software program if it meets the current ENERGY STAR minimum UEF value.
  • When a water heater is installed in an Advanced Home Upgrade project and it is rated in EF, the auditor shall enter the actual EF value of the water heater into the energy modeling software program if it meets the current program minimum EF value.
  • When a water heater is installed in a Home Upgrade project and it is rated in UEF, the homeowner or contractor will be eligible to receive an incentive if it meets the current ENERGY STAR minimum UEF value. The incentive value will be based on the lowest dollar value for water heating equipment (of the same type) paid by the program.
  • When a water heater is installed in a Home Upgrade project and it is rated in EF, the homeowner or contractor will be eligible to receive an incentive based on the current incentive value for the type and efficiency rating of the water heater installed.

Energy Modeling and Uniform Energy Factor

For quite some time, the DOE has been working on a change to the way water heaters are tested and rated. Effective June 2017, DOE instituted their new procedures. Since then, software developers and programmers have been hard at work integrating the DOE's new rating system into various energy modeling software programs.

The behind-the-scenes professionals at Snugg Pro and OptiMiser have been making subtle but important changes to their software. Both software programs now accept water heater efficiency with the traditional EF rating or the new UEF rating.

Depending on when a water heater was produced, its efficiency may be rated in either EF or UEF. No matter how the unit is rated, Snugg Pro and OptiMiser can model the equipment appropriately. For instance, if the existing water heater is rated in EF and the new water is rated in UEF either software can convert and still make the correct calculations. Just be sure to accurately record the efficiency of the water heaters (both existing and new) using the proper rating and the software will be able to do the rest.

In the two examples below the existing storage tank water heater has an EF rating of .52, and the new tankless water heater has a UEF of .87:

OptiMiser DHW (water heater) section:

Snugg Pro (water heater) section:


Snugg Pro has launched the new DOE UEF for water heating equipment. The new UEF rating will show on the Snugg Pro app along with the old EF rating to keep use simple for contractors. While using the app you don't need to convert the old EF to the new UEF, just use the toggle buttons to indicate which factor that you are using. Then, enter the EF from the old water heater on the base and leave the improved UEF blank if you have not chosen a new model and wish to use the new rating. 

In addition, efficiency and performance for ENERGY STAR certified water heating equipment may be evaluated using two different methods. A water heater can be certified as ENERGY STAR by meeting EF, Standby Loss, and/or Thermal Efficiency criteria or by meeting UEF criteria. Although these performance metrics are different, certification as ENERGY STAR by either method requires equivalent efficiency. Consumers should not directly compare EF values to UEF values.

Updated Calculators

Updated Incentive Calculators are available on the contractor website to reflect the latest updates for 2018. Please make sure you are implementing the latest calculators with your sales/processing staff to ensure accuracy.

Reminder: 90-Day Cancellation Policy

To ensure that ineligible projects do not tie up reserved incentive funds, the program is now instituting a 90-day project cancellation policy. If a project has not been completed within 90 days from the project reservation date, the project is subject to cancellation by the program. Participating Contractors at risk of getting their projects cancelled will be notified well ahead of time so that they are able to take action to prevent this. Please contact your Account Manager if you have any questions or concerns about any at-risk projects.

SoCalREN is Now Open

The County of Los Angeles/Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN) Energy Upgrade CaliforniaHome Upgrade Program Contractor Portal is now open for you to create new project reservations. This is for customers in LA County who receive service from both SCE and SoCalGas. Updated program documents are available for download on the Program Resources page.

Financing Updates from CHEEF/REEL

Incorporate Monthly Payment Options with REEL Financing

Help avoid sticker shock with estimated monthly payment options. Did you know 75% of energy efficiency projects over $10,000 are completed with some type of financing? Just like a mortgage or car payment, financed monthly payment options help bigger purchases seem more accessible.

With state-sponsored Residential Energy Efficiency Loan (REEL) financing, customers can finance 100% of their project costs. This enables contractors to provide lower estimated monthly payment options. REEL lenders provide estimated online payment calculators and 24-hour credit approval, enabling projects to get started quickly.

Want to offer REEL to your customers? Sign up today.

Become a REEL Participating Contractor by visiting, or learn more by contacting the REEL Contractor Support team at 1-800-484-0109 or

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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 the funding is expended or the program is discontinued. Terms and conditions apply. See program rules for details. Programs may be modified or terminated without prior notice. ©2018 Trademarks used with permission and are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.