When you replace old clunkers with energy efficient machines, you can get two benefits -- one, a lower PG&E bill and two, you may get some cash back. Or, you might not. One homeowner upgraded all of his heating and cooling systems, but still couldn't get a rebate so he turned to 7 On Your Side for help.
"You had to put your hand close up to the grate to get it," said Bill Pennington. He could hardly feel any air coming out the vents at his Livermore home, even though the air conditioner was on full blast.
A contractor came out and found problems and not just with the air conditioner.
Pennington explains, "The duct work was flattened out, hanging on the rafters."
The furnace was cracked too. So the contractor put in a new energy efficient air conditioner, and furnace, plus all new air ducts. It cost more than $15,000. Pennington says the air is perfect.
"He said, 'Now don't forget to apply for your rebates,'" said Pennington.
The contractor's paperwork included this form. It tells how to apply for a PG&E rebate for energy efficient appliances. So bill went to the PG&E website and filled out the forms, figuring at least he'd get $600 back.
"I sat back and waited for a while and nothing happened," said Pennington.
PG&E did request more documents but no rebate came, so he asked PG&E what happened.
"I got an operator that said, 'Well, we don't give rebates any longer. We haven't for months. I said, 'What do you mean you don't give rebates?'" said Pennington.
Then why is the application online? Pennington contacted 7 On Your Side and we contacted PG&E.
"Unfortunately, he purchased the items after the rebate had expired so he did not qualify," said PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian.
Sarkissian says PG&E did offer $250 cash back for furnaces, but that rebate expired last march. Pennington bought his furnace two months too late and she says there was no rebate at all for air conditioners.
"Right now for the resident listing, there are five rebates being offered, none of which are for compressors or furnaces," said Sarkissian.
The PG&E website does have application forms but they only work for current offers. Right now there are five. One of those says you can get $200 back for an efficient water heater. The website also tells you when the purchase must be made to qualify for cash back.
Still, after we told PG&E about Pennington's disappointment, the company came through and gave him the $600 anyway.
"Mr. Pennington was under the impression that he was going to get this rebate when he made this investment into energy efficiency, so in the spirit of good customer service,e we did decide to move forward and give him an adjustment of $600," said Sarkissian.
Pennington's feeling a lot better for it.
"I'm very fortunate, very fortunate indeed," said Pennington.
PG&E says the application forms are always there online, but if you want to get a rebate, you should check its Home Energy page to find all current offers. Make sure you're buying qualified appliances in the right time period as well.