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Tesla Trouble: Homeowners say they’ve waited months for solar repairs

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TIVERTON, R.I. (WPRI) – It’s closed for the season now, but in the hot summer months Ann Valentino’s pool was open and using lots of energy.

The central air conditioning inside her Tiverton home was also cranking.

“My electric bill has gone from maybe $140 per month to $320 to at some points $370,” Valentino said.

The unexpected spike in energy costs happened when Valentino’s solar panels stopped working. Valentino told Call 12 for Action she has contacted Tesla repeatedly over the past several months to schedule repairs.

“They said to me, ‘There’s nothing we can really do at this time. We don’t have qualified technicians that are in that area that can come to your home and go up on your roof and check any of this out,'” Valentino said.

When she asked when someone would be available, the answer stunned her.

“She said, ‘Well, right now we’re looking at May of 2020,” Valentino recalled. “That’s not an acceptable answer.”

Valentino’s original contract was with SolarCity, which was acquired by Tesla in 2016.

“I just assumed Tesla was this huge company that had lots of money and could fix things, but apparently that’s not the case at this point,” Valentino said.

James Cunha, of Fall River, said his solar problems also started after Tesla took over.

“I had no problem with SolarCity,” Cunha said.

Then in June, his system stopped working.

Cunha said he was told, “We don’t have a crew in your area to do a repair.”

Months later, the system has not been repaired.

“I’ve had enough of this,” Cunha said. “I’m losing power.”

Call 12 for Action reached out to Tesla several times. The company never responded to our questions, but Tesla did immediately contact Valentino and Cunha. Both received emails from Tesla employees, promising to review the accounts and expedite repairs.

Currently, Valentino’s repairs are scheduled for mid-November.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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