Op-Ed: Sunnova is committed to Puerto Rico

Written by  //  October 17, 2016  //  Biz Views  //  No comments

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Author Karla Zambrana-Meléndez is general manager of Sunnova Puerto Rico.

Author Karla Zambrana-Meléndez is general manager of Sunnova Puerto Rico.

Over the past three years, Sunnova has worked diligently to provide clean, affordable energy to its customers in Puerto Rico. Today, we can proudly say that adoption of solar energy in Puerto Rico continues to be strong as more customers look to save money on their monthly electricity bills.

We are grateful that our customers have made Sunnova the leading residential solar provider on the island. The clean energy our solar customers produce not only powers their homes, but is sent throughout the grid to power their neighbors’ homes and local businesses.

Together with our local partners, we are committed to ensuring more people can have access to solar energy through plans that offer no down payment, low monthly payments and a warranty that covers every component of the solar system — not just the panels and the inverter.

We have made a commitment to Puerto Rico: we have established an office in San Juan and hired a dedicated team of professionals which is dedicated to providing service to our customers and their systems all across the island.

And, we are committed to providing excellent service to all our customers by resolving any issues or concerns quickly and properly. Despite our high standard of customer service, some of our customers have filed complaints with DACO or the newly-created Consumer Protection Office (OIPC).

We take all customer issues seriously, no matter where they originate, and we work diligently with our customers to resolve them. However, it is important to note that the number of customer complaints filed with either DACO or OIPC represent less than 1% of the thousands of satisfied Sunnova customers in Puerto Rico.

Furthermore, various media outlets have published stories regarding Sunnova’s operations and customer complaints without seeking essential facts or context from Sunnova. While these media outlets are not required to present all the facts, we welcome any opportunity to explain how solar works, resolve customer issues, or correct any misconceptions.

While we cannot comment on specific complaints or litigation, we would like to address several important points.

First, although Sunnova provides production guarantees in its contracts, there is not a guarantee that customers’ utility bills from the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority will be any particular amount after going solar. Rather, each customer’s bill from the utility depends on the amount of energy used from the grid after their solar production is subtracted.

Second, some people have claimed that Sunnova’s service agreements are in English when in fact, our service agreements in Puerto Rico are in Spanish.

Finally, Sunnova addresses customer concerns through its internal customer service processes. But if that does not work, Sunnova’s service agreements provide that customers may initiate arbitration in Puerto Rico if there is any dispute that cannot be resolved informally.

It’s clearer than ever that Puerto Rico needs a modernized electrical grid, which includes more clean, low cost, renewable energy such as solar. The recent blackout Puerto Ricans faced 2 weeks age, caused by a fire at a gas-powered electricity generating plant, is a good example of the current situation the grid. At Sunnova, we are doing our part to help make that future a reality by investing millions of dollars in helping our customers to save money on their energy bills.

We are proud of our success in Puerto Rico. It is a success built upon the hard work of our local partners and our employees on the island. We see it in our many happy customers who enjoy powering their homes with clean, affordable energy.

We will continue the necessary work of offering clean, affordable energy throughout Puerto Rico because Puerto Ricans deserve a choice when it comes to powering their homes.

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