The energy industry is undergoing rapid change, and technology is paving the way for innovation in the way energy is used, produced, stored, and shared. While the changing energy market has created more options for consumers, it has also resulted in more utility scams and misleading information surrounding solar installations, in particular. That’s because of 2 factors.
Utility scams are common because of the vast number of utilities that exist, and consumers are understandably anxious about the threat of disruption to their electric, heating, or water service.
Second, new products and services in the energy industry provide an opening for scammers and pop-up companies to provide misleading information or shoddy products and services.
Avoid Phone Scams
A common phone scam typically begins with a phone number that appears to be from a valid utility company. The scammer will claim you have a past due account and threaten to disconnect service or take legal action. The scammer will typically demand that you use a prepaid debit card or money order, often within a very short, urgent time frame, to pay the “past due” amount.
You can combat this scam by being aware of the status of your account. Never give your banking or personal information over the phone to someone you did not call. If you have a question or concern about your energy bill, call us directly at (765) 342-3344. Do not use the phone number given by the scammer.
Avoid Solar Scams
Another scam we see from time to time is connected to solar arrays. Homeowners with solar arrays may receive a sales call offering an accessory, upgrade, or extended warranty to their solar array. The calls could be from crooks claiming to represent a solar company, promising to replace faulty or broken parts or improve efficiency. Again, if you are not expecting the call, don’t be fooled. These calls offering misleading information are likely a scam.
Thinking About Installing Solar Video
5 Things to consider before you install a solar system:
- Installers who make false claims about excessive annual utility rate increases
- Installers who say not to contact your electric cooperative
- Misleading projected savings
- Deceptive sales tactics that push you to make a decision or sign a contract before you do your own research
- False claims that you will have no utility bills or will make money from energy generated
To locate certified installers, visit North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners website. For solar installation answers and information, visit our Solar Energy page or email us.
Use Trusted Sources
If you’re considering a solar array for your home, make sure you are working with a reputable company. You can find certified installation and design professionals at nabcep.org/nabcep-professionals/
Because this is still an emerging industry with evolving technology, there has been a proliferation of pop-up companies in the market to make a quick buck.
South Central Indiana REMC wants its members to make informed decisions about whether solar is right for them. After all, South Central Indiana REMC has a different “bottom line” that is not directly tied to the sale of a product or service. We take a more holistic, objective view of how to achieve energy and cost savings for our members, and that may or may not include solar. Before you sign the dotted line, please feel encouraged to email us with any solar array questions.
In this ever-changing environment, it’s important to remember you have a trusted energy advisor – your local electric cooperative. We are a community-focused organization serving our diverse communities with innovative energy solutions and life-enhancing services.
Remember, we’re just one call or click away, so please reach out with any questions about your electric service or bills – we’re here to help.
For information about solar arrays, email us.
To contact an energy advisor with questions or to request to schedule an energy audit, visit our Energy Audit page.
For questions about your account, call (765) 342-3344 or toll-free (800) 264-7362.