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Anyone else with a Klover BiFire stove no longer eligible for RHI payments?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 February 2015 at 11:40 am

Q: Today I received an email from Ofgem saying that my Klover Bifire stove which I installed last year (and for which I have received one payment under the Domestic Scheme) was incorrectly classed as eligible under the scheme. They have stopped all payments and advise that it is illegal for them to make further payments as it does not comply. All I have been informed to do is to put it into writing as an appeal/complaint. What on earth are they doing? Surely if it was on the list rightly or wrongly and I have been accepted on the scheme they can't just stop payments. Anybody else in the same boat?

A: Biomass stoves are eligible if they use wood pellets only. Ones that also take logs are not eligible. However, it seems as if this particular stove was originally assessed against biomass boiler criteria, not against biomass stove criteria. Once the mistake was realised, Ofgem wrote to you and some others in the same boat, to let you know.

I realise this is bad news, but the bald fact is that everyone who installed prior to the scheme launch was taking a risk that the product they chose might not be eligible.

If you are a glass half full person, you can celebrate that you got some payment out of the RHI before they realised their mistake. The good news is that they are "not seeking to recoup any monies paid to date".

As you probably know from the letter you got, you may request a right of review of the decision we have made. The Ofgem website provides details on how to request a review.

If I was a betting woman, I wouldn't bet on it making any difference. You ask if they can stop once you're accepted on to the scheme. The unpalatable truth is that someone made a mistake. As a result of that mistake you got more than you were eligible for but, sadly for you, not as much as you'd hoped to get. As it's tax payers money they would be in trouble if they continued to pay it out in error.

Ofgem says: There have been a few cases where certain Biomass Klover stoves have applied and been accepted onto the Domestic RHI. All of these were installed and commissioned prior to the launch of the scheme on the 9 April 2014 and are therefore legacy applications. As with all legacy applications, eligibility to the scheme could not have been guaranteed prior to the scheme launch.

As you are aware we have created a Product Eligibility List (PEL) to help applicants see if their renewable heating technology is eligible for the scheme. The formulation of this list depends on the heating systems meeting a number of criteria which we receive from third parties. In the case of these few Klover stoves, we have subsequently found that they have been assessed against the wrong criteria (the biomass boiler criteria rather than the biomass stove criteria) and are in fact ineligible according to the Domestic RHI regulations.

As these stoves should never have been eligible for the scheme, we have had to withdraw these accreditations and stop all future payments to these applicants, otherwise we would be in breach of the regulations.

We are aware that these applications made to us may not have been done so with the knowledge that these products were ineligible and therefore we are not seeking to recoup any monies paid to date.

We have contacted all those who this affects and have made them aware that if they are not happy with our decision, they may request a right of review of the decision we have made. Details on how to request a review can be found here

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Comments

4 comments - read them below or add one

sarjphiw

sarjphiwComment left on: 8 April 2015 at 11:01 am

Hi Cathy

Yes we are in the same boat. We appealed to Ofgem but no joy.

We like yourselves have invested a lot of money into this,we knew it was a risk but we had planned on replacing boiler if it wasnt accepted. Now the tariff has been reduced twice.

We are amazed that this could happen.I have written to  Watchdog as I feel someones mistake has cost us a lot of money. 

 

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 6 March 2015 at 10:24 am

Hi Darren

I just got this email back from Ofgem - so I hope it's all settled now: 

"This request was sent in error to Mr Vaughan (no other such emails were sent to other applicants). My colleague spoke with Mr Vaughan a couple of days ago and told him that we would not be recouping the money already paid."

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 5 March 2015 at 10:55 am

That's bizarre - I'll ask my contact about that.

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darren vaughan

darren vaughanComment left on: 3 March 2015 at 10:35 pm

so much for not wanting to re-coup payments, had a demand today to pay back money by april or face civil action.

Its a farce

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