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TV station helps consumer get $150 efficiency rebate

20160328_rebates_fbKudos to NBC 5 investigative reporter Chris Coffey for helping a Chicago resident get a $150 rebate

Coffey told the story of Jon Marinas, who owns a West Loop condo and says local utilities have made the rebate application a confusing process. Marinas wants to reduce his carbon footprint, and so he recently installed energy-efficient LED lighting, a smart thermostat and a tankless water heater. Of course, what’s good for the environment is also good for his pocketbook. He’s saving money!

But his applications for $250 worth of rebates from the natural gas and electric companies were denied. “They’re not making it easy for you to be able to collect,” Marinas said.

Peoples’ Gas told Coffey that it made a clerical error, and has since issued the $150 rebate to Marinas. But ComEd told Coffey it rejected Marinas’ request for the $100 smart thermostat rebate because he bought the device a week before the rebate program started.

CUB Executive Director David Kolata told Coffey that the consumer group has never seen stronger interest in energy efficiency:

It is vital that the utilities’ energy efficiency rebate programs run smoothly, because they are a key tool to help Illinois families keep their costs down.

Marinas said he hopes utilities “step up to the plate” to help their customers with the rebate application process. Yep, it can be very confusing. Here are some tips from CUB:

1) Research what energy efficiency improvements your home needs most.

2) Find out what rebates the utilities offer. Research utility and consumer advocacy websites. (CUB has an energy efficiency page at www.CitizensUtilityBoard.org.)

3) Ask a lot of questions. Call the utilities, and, if you’re having a hard time understanding the process, don’t hesitate to call consumer advocates like CUB (1-800-669-5556). We’ll do everything we can to answer your questions.

4) Make sure to take good notes, and write down the names of the people you talk to at the utilities and at CUB.