Rep. Jeffrey N. Roy sat down with WCVB Channel 5’s Ben Simmoneau to talk about problems with Mass Save and the long delays and missing payments due to customers seeking rebates toward new heating units. Ben leads the station’s nationally recognized consumer reporting franchise, “Ben Has Your Back.”
The complete report involving Mass Save can be viewed by clicking the image above and at one of these links: https://youtu.be/fe9nhZJ-_VI or https://www.wcvb.com/article/ben-has-your-back-mass-save-payment-delays-heating/41823743.
Mass Save is an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ natural gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers, including The Berkshire Gas Company, Blackstone Gas Company, Cape Light Compact, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Eversource, Liberty Utilities, National Grid, and Unitil. The sponsors of Mass Save work closely with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to provide a wide range of services, incentives, trainings, and information promoting energy efficiency that help residents and businesses manage energy use and related costs.
NewsCenter 5 took the complaints about processing delays to Rep. Roy as the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. Rep. Roy has also heard similar complaints directly and has been working with the utilities to make improvements in the service.
“It’s absolutely not satisfactory for there to be long delays in the delivery of payments,” Roy said. “A reasonable amount of time to get these rebates is six to eight weeks. Beyond that is unreasonable.”
At the start of the year, the state’s utilities — which run Mass Save — restructured the program with the state’s approval, slashing many rebates for natural gas, oil or propane while increasing money for electric heat and implementing new energy savings programs. The goal is to move homes away from heating directly with fossil fuels and toward what will soon hopefully be a greener electric grid.
Rep. Roy says the utilities blamed those changes for some of the delays. Mass Save processes 100,000 rebate submissions every year, which requires a number of due diligence checks. Roy noted that helping folks get their rebates from Mass Save is important for our climate change efforts.
But the processing delays are not the only problem. The two customers included in the report both had difficulty getting answers about their checks because of the complex relationship between Mass Save and the utilities who actually funnel the money to the program.
Rep. Roy says if delays and communication do not improve, the state will force the utilities to fix it.
“There should be an easy way for you to get information,” Roy said. “I don’t care whether it’s an email or a website, there should be an ombudsman available to address that.”
After NewsCenter 5 got involved, both customers got their full rebates right away. Mass Save blamed part of the delay on missing information on their applications, but also said both checks were held up by various processing issues.