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Housing Dept. opens 1st round of applications for New Energy Program

Puerto Rico Housing Secretary William Rodríguez announced that the first round of applications for the New Energy Program opens today, which under the Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) recovery funds, will offer up to $30,000 in assistance for the purchase and installation of solar panels and rechargeable batteries. 

The New Energy Program will accept applications through a “system of rounds.” The first round will have a maximum amount of 3,000 turns for people with maximum income levels of $11,700 for a one-person household and up to $22,000 for an eight-person household.

“The launch of this program … is one of the most important for low-income Puerto Ricans, as it offers the opportunity for continuity in one of the most important services, such as electric power,” Rodríguez said.

“We’ve designed this program to invest in self-sufficient energy systems that help our most vulnerable population be resilient during emergency events. We’re confident that we will complete this first round successfully, to make way for more applications,” he said.

After participants get their turn, through a telephone line, website or an admissions center, they will have up to 120 days to gather the data and documentation needed to submit a complete application to form part the program.

To get one of the 3,000 available turns, applicants must provide contact information, physical address, household composition, property ownership, primary residence, citizenship, and household income level, among others.

Those interested can apply for the New Energy Program website, by calling 1-833-234-2324 or in person at the program admissions centers in San Juan, Caguas, Fajardo, Yabucoa, Ponce, Orocovis, Mayagüez, Isabela, Arecibo and Vega Alta. 

DACO reduces solar energy system complaints
In related news, Hiram Torres, secretary of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO), announced that since December, the agency has significantly decreased the number of pending complaints related to the sale, installation and maintenance of photovoltaic (solar) energy systems. The number of complaints has been reduced from 416 to 94.

Of these 94 pending complaints, 35 are already in the mediation mechanism process between the parties. While 31 are in the process of an adjudication hearing, another 17 are in the inspection stage and 11 are in the evaluation phase.

“The prompt resolution of consumer complaints filed at the DACO is important,” Torres assured. “In the area of photovoltaic energy systems, the process has been streamlined for the famous solar panels, to the point that there are currently 94 unadjudicated complaints out of a total of 416 filed through February 2023. Of those 94, the majority, 66, are already in the process of being resolved in the coming weeks.”

The Office of Renewable Energy Affairs, attached to the DACO secretary ’s office, was created Dec. 12 to address concerns associated with solar energy systems.

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

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