Get solar water heater utility rebates up front - CBS 5 - KPHO

CBS 5 Advocate

Get solar water heater utility rebates up front

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MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

Lots of homeowners are now installing solar water heaters, they save energy and come with money-saving rebates too.

You have options when it comes to collecting your utility company rebate, choosing the right option will help you get your cash fast and avoid hassles.

When it comes to solar water heater rebates, the utility sends the check to the contractor after installation, and then they send it along to you. But you don't have to wait that long, you can get your rebate the moment you sign the contract.

"I think there is somebody there that could cut me a check," Carol Lawless said.

To save on her electric bill, Lawless hired Discover Energy Solutions to install a solar water heater in her Mesa home. The total cost was $9300, but that price would be reduced by an SRP rebate/incentive totaling $1,137.

"He wrote it down on a piece of paper, and then he said you will be getting this, it'll take between 30-60 days," Lawless said.

SRP would send the rebate to the company and they would send it to Lawless. The check never arrived, but Lawless says the company kept reassuring her it would. Finally, seven months after installation, Lawless says the company admitted they had received the check five months prior!

"I was very upset, because it was my money, it was never their money and they should have given it to me immediately," Lawless said.

Lawless is still waiting for her rebate, but this process could have gone differently. On its website, SRP advises contractors to reduce the cost of the system by the incentive at contract signing. This better option would allow the contractor to keep the check when it arrives and gives the customer an immediate rebate.

"It would get me out of worrying about, was I going to get it, maybe forgetting about it," Lawless said.

Lawless says Discover Energy Solutions didn't offer this option, but if they had?

"I would take it because I would have the money, it would be deducted from what I owed, and there would be no problem," Lawless said.

Even though solar contractors can wait for the check and then send it along to you, customers should try to negotiate to have the contractor do it the better way: Get your rebate for a solar water heater right off the top of your contract. There is no need to experience the delays and frustration Lawless did in this case.

After CBS 5 News contacted Discover Energy Solutions, the company paid Lawless the $1137 rebate the very next day. As for the obvious question, why did the company keep her money all those months instead of paying it to her right away as they should have, CBS 5 News could not get an answer. Discover Energy Solutions never returned any of our many phone calls inquiring about this action.

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