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Dept. of Consumer Affairs opens renewable energy office

The Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO, in Spanish) announced the creation of the Renewable Energy office to expedite the solution of complaints related to sales, and maintenance contracts associated with this industry, as well as serve as a link between these companies and the consumer.

“Since 2017, solar [power] systems have been installed on our island in more than 42,000 structures, many of which are residences,” said DACO Secretary Hiram Torres-Montalvo.

“This, in turn, has brought an increase in the number of complaints related to these platforms. Looking to address this situation, we’ve created the Renewable Energy office, which will oversee addressing complaints about these systems, expediting their processing and resolution,” said Torres-Montalvo.

The DACO stated that consumers currently file, on average, about 30 complaints associated with the sale, installation and/or maintenance contracts of solar panel systems. From January to February 2021, the agency received 377 complaints on this matter.

The new office will be responsible for creating guidance between companies selling solar systems and consumers. It will also oversee the periodic review of the existing industry regulations.

“We want to expedite the processing of complaints filed by consumers, and this new platform will have that objective,” he said. “Many of these complaints can be resolved through the mediation process. Also, the office will operate as a link between DACO and the companies that sell, install, and provide maintenance for solar panel systems, as well as with consumers.”

He believes the agency can “dramatically reduce the number of complaints with this initiative and the orientation and mediation mechanisms.”

Since last week, Torres-Montalvo has held a series of meetings with entities that group companies dedicated to the sale, installation, and maintenance of systems solar in residences and businesses.

The government official also noted that the new office is being created ahead of a potential increase in complaints related to solar power projects, in response to President Biden’s announcement that he has asked Congress for a $3 billion assignment to install these types of renewable energy systems on low-income housing rooftops in Puerto Rico.

“We know that the demand is currently high for these photovoltaic systems and that this will continue to increase. Many of the complaints that are now received are about consumer dissatisfaction with the equipment sold, the lack of prompt maintenance and the useful life of the batteries, among others. The new office will work to address these issues,” Torres-Montalvo said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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