Campaign for Accountability filed a Freedom of Information Request with the Federal Trade Commission requesting communications between commissioners and a list of advocates and rooftop solar companies that recently requested an inquiry into the electric utility industry.
Watchdog Calls on FTC to Investigate Rooftop Solar Companies for Relying on Deceptive Lead Generators
As Americans continue to be restricted to their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic, rooftop solar companies are seeking new customers through lead generators, which often post misleading ads on Facebook to draw in customers.
"25 Investigates contacted the Washington DC-based consumer watchdog group Campaign for Accountability, which conducted a yearlong nationwide study of the rooftop solar industry. Their report found 'the abuse by rooftop solar companies is real and extensive.'"
"'No matter what, consumers will have to pay for the solar panels in one way or another,' said Daniel Stevens Executive Director of the Campaign for Accountability."
"We’re concerned by a recent report from the Campaign for Accountability that indicates the '[private] solar industry revealed promises of clean energy at reduced cost have proven deceptive” and that “unscrupulous actors have exploited vulnerable populations, preying on the elderly and those on fixed incomes.'"
"A consumer watchdog group has asked the Nevada Attorney General's office to investigate some mysterious renewable energy notices that have popped up on dozens of Las Vegas valley homes."
Watchdog Again Calls on Nevada Attorney General to Investigate Vivint Solar for Preying on Consumers
On October 23, 2018, CfA renewed its request to Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt to investigate rooftop solar companies – specifically Vivint Solar – after a local media outlet uncovered evidence that Vivint is continuing to victimize Nevada consumers.
"Nationally, Campaign for Accountability, a Washington-based group critical of solar, has tracked a sharp rise in company complaints by consumers in the past five years. 'Often the target customer who is ripe for abuse is somebody who is retired, has a fixed income, and who is taken in by the promise of a constant electric bill,' said its executive director, Daniel Stevens. 'The individual will wind up being charged more for their electric costs than they were before they installed solar panels. It’s one of the clearest ways that these companies mislead customers.'"
"In March, the attorney general of New Mexico filed a 17-count civil complaint against Vivint Solar that accused the company -- which sells and leases rooftop solar panels in California, New Mexico and other states – of fraud, racketeering and unfair business practices. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra would do well to follow New Mexico's lead."
Watchdog Calls on Attorneys General in Arizona, Nevada, and New York to Investigate Rooftop Solar Industry After New Mexico Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Vivint
On April 24, 2018, CfA called on attorneys general in Arizona, Nevada, and New York to investigate rooftop solar companies with an emphasis on Vivint Solar.