The $1 billion solar industry on Long Island is about to be regulated for the first time as they strive to stop abuse and the fraud that seems to be growing in the industry.
This new set of consumer protection rules was voted into action this past week comes about 4 months after the first cases of fraud and abuse of customers were uncovered in the area. This will allow solar leasing companies a 5-year period during which they can expand widely without specific regulations being enforced.
Putting these regulations in place will require customers to understand the costs of their benefits and investments, yet agree that consumers should be protected from both fraud and abuse while they invest in the future of solar energy. Local officials say that they have had several cases of reports that companies installing these systems have not been abiding by laws, so they are very glad to see that there are finally some regulations being put on the industry to keep consumers of solar energy safer.
These actions are aimed at ending some controversial and questionable practices that are often carried out by some solar energy companies. Many customers are complaining because the solar company did not make it clear to the customer that they could face up to a 3% increase in the rates that they are charged for each year that their contract went on.
Others were shocked that the fact that they outfitted their home with solar energy were burdened by the uniform commercial codes that could make refinancing or selling their homes a lot more difficult than it would be if they didn’t have that technology installed on their rooftops.
The requirements that are being put in place require solar companies to comply with the laws in the area on door-to-door sales marketing and allow law-enforcement to investigate any “deceptive” marketing or telemarketing that may be “deceiving” customers as to what they are really getting when they get solar energy panels installed on their roofs.
New policies will encompass all of the rules that are already in place and add additional regulations where needed. The new regulations will have a 9-member board that will oversee official complaints from customers about issues they are having with solar energy. Complaints will be formally reviewed.
These rules may not stop everything that goes wrong in the solar industry but the idea is to regulate the business and hold the companies that provide solar power more accountable for frauds and abuse that happen to customers in the industry.
For more information on the new LIPA regulations that are coming to Long Island regarding solar energy, please feel free to contact us for further assistance.