Are you wondering about the authenticity of a phone call, email, mailer, door-to-door salesperson, or other sales message claiming to represent Energy Trust of Oregon, a utility, or other energy-related organization? Some individuals and companies may use the Energy Trust name or logo inappropriately and without our permission, potentially for fraudulent purposes. They may also make overstated or inaccurate claims about available incentives or tax credits.
The information below can help you assess the validity of sales messaging or other communications. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 1.866.368.7878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many organizations and individuals use door-to-door sales to reach customers. These range from fundraising efforts to home maintenance services and licensed contractors. Some door-to-door salespeople are legitimate, but it’s important to check facts before signing agreements or making on-the-spot purchases. Watch for these warning signs:
- Claims of free installation or “zero-out-of-pocket” costs.
- Claims that equipment or services are “fully paid for” by utilities, the government, or Energy Trust of Oregon.
- Salespeople claiming to work with, or for, Energy Trust of Oregon or a utility. Energy Trust does not conduct door-to-door sales.
- Claims that a home improvement project will “zero-out” a home’s energy bills.
- Installers claiming to be sent by a utility and that the utility sent advance notice of their visit.
- Installers claiming to implement a program with a utility, the government, or Energy Trust.
- Installers claiming that state regulation requires a utility to encourage installation of specific energy-saving or renewable energy improvements, such as solar energy, to avoid fines.
- Offers with tight deadlines—requiring a quick decision that prevents fact-checking.
- Salespeople who claim to work for a specific organization but do not have identification.
- Salespeople offering free home energy audits who ask for account information or social security numbers.
Always confirm the facts behind claims that seem too good to be true, like free installation and equipment, and get clarification on statements that may have multiple meanings, like “zero upfront costs”. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of an offer or organization, contact Energy Trust of Oregon at 1.866.368.7878, or your utility. Report any suspicious activity to your local law enforcement, the Oregon CCB at 503.934.2229, or the Oregon Department of Justice at 1.877.877.9392.
When you may be contacted by Energy Trust or by a third party on our behalf
We do conduct outreach and advertising throughout Oregon and into southwest Washington to increase awareness of our energy-efficiency and renewable energy offerings for utility customers. We also occasionally work with vendors to conduct energy awareness surveys on our behalf, and with energy-efficiency firms to offer our cash incentives to businesses.
REPORTED POTENTIAL SCAMS
February 2023: Misleading door-to-door sales messaging
ION Solar, LLC is conducting a door-to-door sales campaign in the greater Portland area offering “free” or “zero-out-of-pocket” solar installations. Salespersons may claim to be sent by Portland General Electric (PGE) to evaluate customers’ homes which were previously identified by PGE as good candidates for solar. Some customers report that ION Solar salespersons have PGE logos on their apparel and claim they are with PGE. Salespersons may also state that solar equipment will zero-out customers’ energy bills, or that Portland General Electric faces regulatory fines if they don’t encourage solar installations by a certain date. Customers also indicate that ION Solar salespersons attempt to position themselves as a preferred installer or the only option for receiving services.
ION Solar, LLC is a licensed contractor in Oregon. They are not affiliated with Energy Trust of Oregon or any utility. They may offer their own discounts and financing, but they are not eligible to offer Energy Trust Solar incentives and they are not working together with Portland General Electric or other utilities to implement related programs.
- Contact your utility or Energy Trust of Oregon to verify claims.
- Avoid quick decisions or signing paperwork before verifying facts, including system cost, production, available tax credits and other discounts.
- Verify Oregon CCB license and search online for customer ratings.
- Obtain multiple bids. Energy Trust offers an online find-a-contractor tool to help you get started.
April 2020: Misleading solar websites
Energy Trust has been made aware of three websites that provide potentially misleading information about available solar incentives and programs.
Solar Partner, Inc. released an article on their website, Green Energy Tribune, titled: “Is Solar Financially Smart? What You Need to Know About Your Rising Energy Bill and How Solar Mitigates Your Costs.” The article provides an opportunity for customers to determine if they “…Qualify for Solar Funding” by submitting their contact information.
Energy Trust is not familiar with this organization or the funding source they reference, and they are not eligible to offer Energy Trust incentives.
Another website is Solar America, which indicates that there is a solar stimulus package to provide solar at no-cost for PGE customers. It states, “The stimulus package is designed to support homeowners during these uncertain times. Free to qualify, no obligations!”
Energy Trust is not familiar with this stimulus package and Solar America is not eligible to offer Energy Trust incentives.
Quantumsolar.com is another website which makes claims about an available solar stimulus package specifically for Clackamas County. It mentions that the package offers several benefits, such as “a backup battery that stores energy and protects your home from blackouts” and a “$1,000 check and your bills paid for 6 months when you go solar”.
Energy Trust is not familiar with this organization and Quantum Solar is not eligible to offer Energy Trust incentives.
- Avoid scheduling in-home visits with unknown organizations that use vague or misleading language in their advertising. If you choose to schedule an appointment based on these solicitations, or other marketing efforts, obtain the company name and Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) license number of the company that will come to your home. Visit the Oregon CCB website and use their online license search to review the company’s record. This will help you determine if you should proceed with them.
- If an individual or company claiming to represent or work for a utility contacts you based on these solicitations or other marketing efforts, contact that utility to verify their claims. The utility can also verify whether or not they are conducting their own outreach to homeowners in this manner.
- If a business contacts you through these solicitation or other marketing efforts, and claims to be an Energy Trust trade ally, call us at 1.866.368.7878 and press 0 to verify their trade ally status with one of our representatives. You may also search our find a contractor list by company name.
- Report suspicious activity to local law enforcement, the CCB at 503.934.2229, or the Oregon Department of Justice at 1.877.877.9392.
Not sure about someone approaching you for work?
If someone contacts you claiming to represent Energy Trust and you believe the call or visit may be fraudulent, please call us at 1.866.368.7878 or email us at email@example.com.
Tips from the CCB:
- Ask to check your calendar and say you’ll call back. Call the business you regularly use to verify any appointments. If someone shows up at the door, tell them “no.”
- Never give out personal information such as a Social Security or credit card number or pay in cash.
- Always check a construction contractor’s CCB license number to verify a worker is legitimate.
- Report suspicious encounters to your local law enforcement.