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Some Solar Customers Experiencing Long Waits For LADWP Permit To Activate Panels

STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) - Some customers who have had solar panels put on their homes are experiencing months-long delays in having the renewable-energy savers activated after installation.

"We tend to refer to them as our decorative solar panels. They're just not turned on," said Oren Friedman, whose solar panels were installed months ago.

Friedman is passionate about saving the environment, from LED light bulbs in the home to solar powered landscape lights outside and his electric vehicle in the driveway, all powered by renewable energy. However, the homeowner isn't yet generating the cost-savings he'd hoped when he had the panel installed.

"I look at the meter and I can see that we're just consuming a lot of power from the grid right now," Friedman said.

Friedman signed a contract last summer with Sun Power to install solar panels on his roof. The job was finally completed, in late March. He hadn't expected to wait five months for the installation, but he says it was still a great moment.

"When the solar company first hooked them up, you could actually see the meter going backwards. It was one of the coolest things ever. We were producing more electricity than the house was making," Friedman said. "They immediately had to flip a switch and turn them off. We're not allowed to use them until LADWP gives the green light."

Without a permit to operate solar from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the panels cannot be activated. Friedman said he's not alone.

"A good friend of mine, his panels were installed over six months ago. He has still heard nothing from LADWP," Friedman said.

At the outset, Sun Power predicted a nine-week wait before Friedman's solar panels would be powering his home. Yet, nearly nine months after signing the company's contract, his DWP bill is as high as ever.

"It almost approached $2,000," Friedman said.

Sun Power told him the problem is the fault of DWP, calling them "the slowest of every utility we deal with."

After CBSLA contacted LADWP to ask why the permit wasn't forthcoming, the department issued it some two later.

While Sun Power blamed DWP, the utility company told Friedman the delay was due to a problem with Sun Power's meter installation.

"We get all these announcements to please try to cut down on electricity in the summer. Obviously, we all know that we're in a global crisis, and here we are, trying to do our part," Friedman said. "You would think that the power company, which has all the issues of not being able to provide enough power with the grid, dealing with wildfires, talking about having to potentially do brown-outs, that it'd be in their interest to try to turn it on."

For its part, Sun Power released the following statement:

"...there are currently a number of steps and stakeholders involved in the journey from purchase to activation. Solar customers sometimes experience installation delays due to external factors...Sun Power is not involved in the process of installing electricity meters and we work closely with our partners to avoid delays."


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