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Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) is warning customers about salespeople on Kaua‘i identifying themselves as KIUC employees or contractors selling rooftop solar systems.

The salespeople, some of them going door-to-door, have been reported as saying they work for KIUC or “the electric company” and are working with KIUC to lower electric bills and soliciting customers to help Kaua‘i achieve its renewable energy goals.

KIUC does not sell rooftop solar systems and does not employ anyone selling the systems. KIUC does not endorse or recommend particular solar installers.

“We’re receiving an increasing number of reports about aggressive or misleading sales tactics from solar contractors but this is the first time we’re hearing that salespeople are saying they’re from KIUC,” said Jim Kelly, manager of member services and communications for KIUC.

“If they’re representing legitimate solar contractors then they should stand on their own and not suggest that KIUC is ‘working closely with them’ or endorsing their product. For some people solar makes sense and for others it’s a lousy deal that traps them in a long-term contract paying for a huge system that they don’t need.”

Some door-to-door salespeople will ask for a copy of the homeowners’ electric bill and offer to perform a credit check on the spot in an effort to get the homeowner qualified for a special “no money down” contract on a solar system.

KIUC has also heard complaints from members who are now paying more for their rooftop solar than their previous electric bill, or whose savings aren’t as large as they were promised.

“Salespeople are telling people that they have to act fast or they’ll miss out. Don’t be pressured. Do your homework to find out if you even need solar, then talk to reputable contractors and make sure you understand the financing before you sign anything,” Kelly said.

KIUC can help provide information about your home’s energy use to help you decide if solar makes sense for you.

If you have questions about solar or are approached by someone saying they are from KIUC, please call 246-4300. All KIUC employees carry identification and will provide it upon request.

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