IN YOUR CORNER: Veteran faces steep bills after going solar

In Your Corner

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Solar energy can be a cost effective measure for many Oklahoma families, but one local veteran says his solar dreams have become a nightmare.

Steven Gill had hoped for help on his energy bills.

“I thought, well let’s just get solar,” he said. “I can run the hot tub, pool, and I don’t have to care.”

His dream of solar started with a phone call. The company was named Solergy, and they sold a sweet deal.

“My electric bill would be zero,” said Steven. “The $300 a month I pay for electric, would be my bill for the panels for, they told me, 20 years.” 

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Steven Gill and KFOR’s Adam Snider

Initially frustrated by weeks of delays, Steven says the product was installed between December and January.

The final product, two rather large panel boards, have now sat outside his house for months, still not properly hooked into his home energy system.

Steven has also learned he may never fully see a rebate that was promised with his deal.

“They said you get a 26 percent rebate from the federal government, by claiming it on your income taxes. [But] you gotta make enough,” said Steven. “Somebody should’ve explained it’s based on that, that’s something I didn’t know.”

While Steven does qualify for the rebate, he was told it would help offset around $25,000 of his new solar system. Based on this year’s taxes, he’ll reach that full rebate sometime in the next 90 years.

Steven says he’s now largely on the hook for the whole $71,000 plus system. While his bill isn’t due for two years, he says it’s more than double what he currently pays in energy.

He’s not alone in his frustration. Solergy currently touts an F-rating with the BBB, with complaints ranging from a lack of communication, to not pulling proper permits, to failing city inspections.

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We spoke with the company on the phone. They told our team when it comes to the rebate, it’s up to the customer to fully understand their taxes and financials before signing up.

They also say all proper permits were pulled for the job and that COVID-19 was to blame for the near five-month delay.

But In Your Corner checked with the City of Norman. City officials tell us a construction permit was requested in March, months after the system was already constructed.

But no permits have been fully approved, building or electrical.

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Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) wasn’t able to comment on whether Solergy filed their proper paperwork, but they do urge other customers considering solar to contact them first.

“We have a bevy of resources on our website,” said Autumn McMahon, OEC Manager of Marketing and Member Relations . “What our goal is so that we can consult with them, make sure they’re not getting more solar than they need.”

Steven says on top of everything, the company hasn’t returned his phone calls or emails for months.

He tells our team, now, he simply wants out of the deal.

“I don’t want it. It’s still not hooked up, and the company won’t come get it or respond to a call,” he added. “Let them come repossess it; it’s not hooked up, go ahead.”

Making matters more confusing, there’s actually another company named Solergy out of Texas, with an A-plus BBB rating.

The owner of that company tells our team they receive complaints daily about the other business.

While Solergy told KFOR they would be contacting Steven, Steven says he has not heard from the company, and they continue to not return his phone calls.

For any OEC customers seeking more information on solar energy, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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