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Ecology Action Center Urges Extreme Caution with Door-to-Door Energy Solicitations

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salesman at doorAccording to the Ecology Action Center (EAC), there is a recent surge in door-to-door solicitors offering to reduce residents’ energy costs or reduced cost solar installations and a corresponding surge in complaints. These offers might sound appealing, but many of them are disingenuous and can result in higher energy costs for homeowners.

Illinois has very progressive renewable energy legislation which has resulted in many solar developers pushing solar installations. While there are very attractive incentives available, the EAC recommends that residents interested in onsite solar solicit multiple proposals from competing solar companies in order to cost compare.  All proposals should include estimated savings from the 30% Federal tax credit and from solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) from the State of Illinois.  The EAC can help residents understand solar proposals as well as check eligibility for the income-qualifying Illinois Solar For All program which can provide solar with no up-front costs.  Community solar is another option; EAC recommends that any such proposals do not require a sign-up fee or cancellation fee, and include at least a 20% savings the electricity supply rate.

EAC strongly recommends that residents NEVER share their utility bills with any solicitors and never accept an offer for reduced energy costs without proper research and cost comparisons.  Alternate retail energy suppliers (ARES) have a long history of predatory marketing practices, and often target residents on income-qualifying energy assistance plans. Ameren customers in Bloomington and Normal already have reduced energy supply rates through the City and Town’s Municipal Electricity Aggregation programs. Given the current energy market, most ARES would not be able to offer residents a rate lower than they already have.

Larissa Armstrong at the EAC acts as the community energy coordinator and can address questions about residential energy supply rates, offers from ARES, Municipal Electricity Aggregation, solar installation proposals, community solar, or Illinois Solar For All eligibility at [email protected] or 309-454-3169 x15.