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CPUC Adopts Consumer Protection Requirements for Solar Customers

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In our ongoing efforts to protect consumers in the industries we regulate, we have adopted several consumer protections targeted to solar customers, including a solar information packet for utility customers considering installing solar rooftop energy systems.

At our Voting Meeting on Thursday, September 27, 2018, the Commissioners approved a plan to develop a consumer information packet geared towards residential consumers of rooftop solar. The packet is intended to help consumers make an informed decision about installing solar, in response to aggressive or unscrupulous sales tactics. While solar remains an important part of our energy future, some customers have faced troubling issues like misleading marketing practices; pressure to sign a contract or agreement on the same day by solar salespersons; incomplete or incorrect information about the costs and benefits of rooftop solar; predatory financing; and more. 

"Solar should bring real benefits and energy savings to everyone, and the choice to go solar in California should be an informed one," said Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves. "Unfortunately, this is not always the case. I'm proud that these new solar consumer protections have been adopted. There is much more to do beyond this important first step, and the CPUC will continue to work on ways to protect the public."

The CPUC's Energy Division and News and Outreach Office will work on finalizing the packets with stakeholders through workshops and other procedures. The solar information packet is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2019. 

We also took action to help ensure that solar contract terms are reasonable for consumers. Under the new rules, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), are required to obtain verification that solar customers have received and read the solar information packet and the Contractors State License Board's (CSLB) Solar Energy Systems Disclosures through an interconnection portal, prior to installing the solar systems. Additionally, the utilities must collect the installation contracts from solar contractors and forward the contracts to Energy Division for review upon request. Only solar providers with a valid CSLB license will be authorized to install solar energy systems and interconnect customers to the utility's distribution system. 

The decision strengthens consumer protection measures and addresses important consumer issues faced by solar customers. 

The proposal voted on is available on our website

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