Belfast Telegraph

RHI: Department of Economy 'considering other options' after tender process fails to find auditors

By Jonny Bell

The Department of Economy is considering its options after a tender process to find auditors to inspect claimants from the botched Renewable Heat Incentive scheme failed to find a suitable contractor.

Stormont officials have pledged to inspect every boiler installed on the scheme and begun a tender process to appoint auditors.

Millions were set aside for the contract which could have taken up to five years to complete.

However, the department has now confirmed the tender process failed and it is considering its options.

In a statement, it said: "The Department for the Economy  recently advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union for a contractor to Inspect all installations accredited under NI Non Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme.

"Following an evaluation of tenders received, the Department has not appointed a contractor as none of the bids fully met all of the tender requirements.  The Department is now considering other options for taking forward the Programme of Inspections.”

Established in November 2012, the RHI scheme was an attempt to increase consumption of heat from renewable sources. It was found to have paid more to boiler owners than the cost of the fuel. Auditors said there may have been potential fraud in order for some owners to profit from the scheme.

It landed the Executive with an estimated £490m bill over the next 20 years.

The scandal ultimately led to the downfall of the Executive and the current political deadlock. An inquiry has been established in order to examine the detail of the scheme and how it was allowed to get so out of control.

Read more: RHI inquiry issues 150 summonses

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