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DOE Issues Bill of Rights to Protect Consumers

May 14, 2024

An update from the Office of State & Community Energy Programs:

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to lowering costs for American consumers in every pocket of the country. The Home Energy Rebate programs, funded through the Inflation Reduction Act, are designed to help low- and middle-income families buy and install cost-saving appliances and make energy efficiency improvements to save money on their home energy bills. To help keep consumers informed and equipped with resources, the U.S. Department of Energy released a Consumer Bill of Rights framework during yesterday’s White House Consumer Convening in Washington, D.C.
DOE is strongly encouraging state, territorial, and Tribal rebates programs to adopt this framework Bill of Rights to ensure their residents are provided with clear information, prompt responses to their questions, and quality programs as they use these rebates to improve energy efficiency in homes. In doing so, they can boost consumer understanding of the rebate programs.
States, territories, and Tribes can customize the Bill of Rights to fit their DOE-approved program designs and consumer protection plans. DOE encourages adopting states to post the Bill of Rights in a highly visible place on their websites, to publicize it through press releases, and to provide a copy to each consumer when they participate in the program. DOE plans to recognize adopting entities on its website.
The Bill of Rights consists of 12 articles, which are summarized below:

I. Availability of information: The right to accurate, easily understood information about the programs in digital format, or in print as requested.

II. Information on Home Energy Rebates: The right to accurate, easily understood information on how the rebates apply to home improvement costs.

III. Qualified contractors: The right to have work performed by a state-qualified contractor.

IV. Information on contractors: The right to know how the state qualifies and disqualifies contractors.

V. Installation standards: The right to quality home improvement installations that comply with applicable laws, permits, codes, and industry standards.

VI. ENERGY STAR® products: The right to an ENERGY STAR-certified product if available.

VII. Energy bill impact: The right to accurate, easily understood information about estimated impacts on energy bills from upgrades.

VIII. Financing: The right to a determination that a financed upgrade can be afforded without any energy bill savings.

IX. Confidentiality: The right to have personal financial information kept confidential except as necessary to administer the programs.

X. Feedback and complaints: The right to communicate with a state consumer hotline and receive a prompt response.

XI. Renters’ Rights: The right to accurate, easily understood information about improvements being installed by the property owner.

XII. Consumer responsibilities: The obligation to cooperate with program administrators to complete program requirements.

Read the Consumer Bill of Rights >

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