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Frequently Asked Questions

For general information about SECO Stimulus funds, see our General FAQs.

Sub-Recipient Reporting FAQs

Program Specific FAQs



General FAQs

  1. What programs will SECO administer under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)?
  2. Who is eligible for funding under SECO administered programs?
    • State Energy Program (SEP)
      Only governmental entities (examples include: local and state governments, public schools and universities, public hospitals, municipal utilities, etc.)
    • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program
      Small cities and counties not receiving a direct allocation from the U.S. Department of Energy
    • Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program
      Consumers
    • Energy Assurance (EA) Program
      SECO will serve as the lead on the EA Program and will work in partnership, through sub-awards, with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas.
  3. How much money is available for each program?
    • State Energy Program $218,782,000
    • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant $208,759,900
      • SECO - $45,638,100
      • Direct allocation to cities and counties – $163,121,800
      • List of cities and counties that received a direct EECBG allocation.
    • Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program - $23,341,000
    • Energy Assurance Program $2,432,068
  4. What types of funding are available under the State Energy Program?
    • The State Energy Program includes a low-interest revolving loan program for building efficiency retrofits, a competitive grant program for the installation of renewable energy equipment, a competitive grant program for transportation efficiency projects including traffic light synchronization/use of LED lights and alternative fuel vehicles and a competitive grant program to reduce facility operating costs for tax-payer supported Texas public independent school districts (ISDs).

      SECO also uses SEP funds for a public education and outreach program, building energy code education, an Energy Sector Training Center program which will be a joint program between SECO and the Texas Workforce Commission and as a supplement to the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program.
  5. When will funding be available for the State Energy Program?
    • SECO submitted its application to the U.S. Department of Energy for the State Energy Program (SEP) on May 12, 2009 and received final DOE approval on July 10, 2009.

      SECO recommends that interested parties frequently check the Electronic State Business Daily (ESBD) in addition to our SEP Program page for announcements relating to future Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and Request for Applications (RFAs). Please sign up for our SECO Stimulus e-mail alerts to receive the latest program information.
  6. What kind of financial assistance is available to small businesses through the ARRA?
  7. How do I contract with the government for ARRA projects?
    • The ARRA offers many opportunities for businesses and other organizations to work on federal projects. You can find detail about contracting with the federal and state government under Contract Opportunities on our Texas Stimulus website.
  8. Who do I contact to see if I am eligible to receive non-energy related stimulus funds?
    • For specific questions on federal government programs that have stimulus funds, consult our ARRA Grant and Loan Opportunities for a listing of programs and federal contact information.
  9. Where can I get assistance for Federal FAQ files and/or pages?

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Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) FAQs

Also refer to our EECBG Contracting FAQs.

  1. Is it required that a community hire a consultant to apply for the EECBG grant?
    • No. It is not a requirement that a community hire a consultant in order to apply for this program. Should communities choose to hire one, up to 7 percent of the eligible grant fund would be allowable for the administrative expense.
  2. Does SECO Stimulus have a consultant that is offering consulting services for applicants?
    • No. At this time, SECO Stimulus does not have a consultant or representative that is offering consulting services for applicants.
  3. Is there a match requirement to receive this funding?
    • No. Cost share is not required for EECBG funding.
  4. Is administrative cost allowable with EECBG funds? If so, how much?
    • Yes. Up to 7% for administrative cost will be allowable pending application and budget review.
  5. What are leveraged funds?
    • Leveraged funds are funds made available to the project from sources other than EECBG to further the objectives of the project.
  6. Would efficiency upgrades made to the lights installed in existing city parking lots and adjacent to various pedestrian pathways at city parks be an acceptable use of EECBG funds?
    • Yes.
  7. We would like to install solar water heaters in the County owned and run swimming pool.  Is this allowable?
    • No – this is not allowable.  The Recovery Act does not allow funds to be used for any activity at pools, gambling establishments, zoos, golf courses and aquariums.
  8. We want to replace our black top roof with a roof that is more energy efficient, is this allowable?
    • The replacement with materials that are energy efficient will qualify if it can be measured and demonstrated as an improvement to the building's energy efficiency.
  9. Is a back-up generator an eligible expense?
    • No, funds are intended to impact day-to-day energy sources in order to have the highest impact on energy use reductions.
  10. If our project is completed within six (6) months how long do we have to continue reporting to you?
    • Sub-recipients must continue to report to us via our SECO Stimulus Recipient Reporting Tool until your Contract Manager provides and you complete a Grant Project Completion Acknowledgement. Your Contract Manager will coordinate reporting length requirements with DOE based on the type of project and metrics reported.
  11. Where can I find additional EECBG information related to federal requirements, procurement rules, reimbursements, etc.?
    • Review the information posted on our Technical Guidelines for details on Texas Historical Commission Guidance, ARRA Special Provisions, Steps to Prepare for Funding, Reimbursement Procedures, Energy Calculators & Software, and an ARRA Recipient Affidavit.

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EECBG Contracting FAQs

  1. Our contractors have not yet been identified. Can we go ahead and return the signed and dated contract without the completed Exhibit F for each contractor and then send the Exhibit F's later on?
    • Yes, Exhibit F must be signed and completed by each of your contractors (that is, subcontractors included in the SOW budget as such and performing part of the work) prior to the contractors beginning work. Once each contractor is identified, you must promptly return that contractor's completed Exhibit F to us to complete the file. In the meantime, you can sign, date and return the rest of the contract (including your notarized Exhibit E) to get the contract in place after signature on behalf of CPA.
  2. We are concerned that one or more of the dates in the Statement of Work (SOW) may not be met at this point due to the need to bid out work, receive back and evaluate bids, award contracts or otherwise complete the work by one or more of these dates. Can we mark through and initial changes in the dates in the SOW sent to us and then return the contract with those handwritten changes or must CPA revise the SOW and resend to us before we sign and return?
    • No, we will not accept initialed corrections. If the proposed changes are acceptable to CPA, CPA must revise the SOW and resend before you sign and return. Please promptly direct all requests for changes to dates in the SOW or any other changes to the SOW via e-mail to Stephanie Jones, stephanie.jones@cpa.state.tx.us, CPA Stimulus Program Manager. CPA can't accept handwritten changes to the pdf document sent to you.
  3. We've been requested to sign, date and return the contract within two (2) business days but have an issue with access to our authorized signatory or other issue that will require a few more days. Can we request an extension of the deadline for return?
    • Yes, we will consider your e-mail request for an extension of the deadline of a few days to return your signed contract. Please e-mail your request for an extension to return the contract with a brief explanation for the need for the extension (such as signatory out of town, council meeting etc) to secostimuluscontracts@cpa.state.tx.us. All reasonable requests will be granted.
  4. If we do not have the e-mail capability to return a scanned copy of the contract and we don't have ready access to overnight mail, can we fax the signed contract to you instead?
    • Yes, while we strongly prefer transmission via e-mail or overnight delivery since that will result in the fastest response, in this situation, you may fax your signed contract to the attention of Pamela Smith at 512-463-3669.
  5. Once we sign and return the agreement, can work begin?
    • No, CPA must review, approve, sign and return the agreement to you before you can begin work. Once we receive your signed agreement, we will promptly process it for final review and signature on behalf of CPA and notify you via e-mail when it is fully signed even if you sent it to us via hard copy.
  6. I have a question about a kick off meeting or other procedures once the contract is fully signed and returned to us. Where should I direct that question?
    • If you have any questions on post-contact activities or any other budget, reporting or other program related issues, please contact the SECO Stimulus Team at (512) 463-7392, toll-free (800) 531-5441, ext. 37392 or e-mail secostimulus@cpa.state.tx.us. The legal department is the Comptroller's contact only for the contract signature process.
  7. I have a quick question about the contract signature process that is not answered by items #1 through #6 above. What's the fastest way to send the question and receive a reply?

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