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St. Petersburg family pays $40,000 for solar panels, still stuck with high electric bill

Better Call Behnken

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Andrew Setticase is tired of paying hundreds of dollars each month for electricity and he’s serious about doing his part to protect the planet.

So, he hired a local company to install more than 50 solar panels on his roof.

The panels were put up in September, but he’s still waiting to get Duke Energy to sign off on the system and change out equipment so he can flip the solar switch. 

In the meantime, he’s already received another electric bill for $445.

“I”m paying twice,” Setticase said. “I’m paying for the panels, and I can’t even use them.”

Setticase claims he has gone through all the requirements to get his solar system up and running. His solar company initially told him to expect to wait 10 days.

The city of St. Petersburg inspected and signed off on the system, but not Duke Energy.

Setticase said he gets the runaround and is told dates, but nothing happens. 

They told me it would be done by the 5th of November. The 5th came and went and I haven’t heard from anybody,” Setticase said. 

So he decided he’d Better Call Behnken.

We reached out to Duke, and a Duke worker knocked on Setticase’s door within hours to start the inspection process. 

A Duke spokeswoman says the system passed that inspection and the next step is to get a meter. She sent this statement:

Duke Energy is a strong supporter of solar energy. We stand by the right of individual businesses and homeowners to harness energy from the sun to both save money and protect the environment.

Duke Energy works closely with customers to ensure the application process is complete and based on the size of this type of system, it requires technical review and inspection. Assuring all requirements are met sometimes extends the time required for hook up.

We believe in solar technology and are committed to advancing the use of solar energy in Florida. Duke Energy Florida is helping more than 350 residential and business customers per month interconnect their own private solar on their property. The company established a renewables service center to make it easier for customers to interconnect in the past five years, the number of customers who have interconnected their private solar increased by 670 percent.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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