Avoiding Energy Scams and Fraudulent Business Practices

Are you wondering about the authenticity of a phone call, mailing, email, contractor or sales person at your door or other contact you've received claiming to represent Energy Upgrade California® or the Energy Upgrade California® Home Upgrade program?

The information below will help you assess the authenticity of a communication or someone claiming to represent Energy Upgrade California. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 1.415.796.0135 or energyupgradeCA@energycenter.org.

About Energy Upgrade California®

Energy Upgrade California® is a state initiative to help Californians take action to save energy and conserve natural resources, help reduce demand on the electricity grid, and make informed energy management choices at home and at work. It is supported by an alliance of the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, utilities, regional energy networks, local governments, businesses, and nonprofits to help communities meet state and local energy and climate action goals. Funding comes from investor-owned utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

When you are contacted by Energy Upgrade California or by a third party on our behalf

Energy Upgrade California does not conduct outbound calls, knock on doors, ask for money or solicit private information. We do conduct outreach and advertising throughout California to increase awareness of energy management concepts and to educate Californians about the various rebates and program offerings available to help businesses and residents save energy. You can find us within your local community, at fairs, farmers markets, malls, hardware stores and other events.

As a statewide energy management initiative, Energy Upgrade California is also a collaborative effort among many other state and local government agencies, utilities and partners. We routinely work with utilities and contractors to educate Californians on how to better manage their energy use and encourage energy-saving actions or investments. No representative of the Energy Upgrade California initiative or Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade should engage you in any high-pressure sales tactics.

Avoiding Energy Scams and Fraudulent Business Practices

Some individuals and companies may be using the Energy Upgrade California name inappropriately and without our permission, potentially for fraudulent purposes. While these issues are relatively rare, there have been reports of aggressive telemarketing tactics and scams throughout California attempting to generate sales through unscrupulous methods.

We encourage you to act with caution and follow these recommendations if you encounter any of the following:

High pressure sales tactics:

Some companies are using limited-time offers or other tactics to force a quick decision. Take your time researching your choices for energy improvement projects and investments. There are many contractor choices available with competitive service offerings and rates. Before hiring a contractor, make sure to get at least three quotes and consult the Contractor/ Rater Finder database on the Energy Upgrade California website for a list of contractors who have been licensed by the state of California through the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). You might also consider checking popular review websites such as Yelp or Angie’s List to ensure you’re selecting the best contractor for your needs.

Persons arriving at your home:

Do your research on any company that is attempting to schedule an appointment with you through cold calling or door-to-door sales. Ask for credentials, including employment identification; utility badge and supervisor information; Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS) registration number; and state contractor license number.

Always verify an individual’s identity or contractor’s license information before working with them. The Contractors State License Board, offers a helpful tips and information that will help you select the right type of licensed contractor for your home improvement projects. 

Unsolicited offers for a free energy audit:

Energy Upgrade California does offer a free online Home Energy Assessment to help Californians identify ways to save energy, however we do not offer in-home energy audits, reviews, or assessments directly to customers and we do not conduct door-to-door solicitation for energy audits. Contractors may offer this type of service to their customers; however it is important to understand that any offer made by a contractor is at their own discretion and is not funded by Energy Upgrade California.

Unsolicited phone call from someone asking for personal information:

Energy Upgrade California, as well as state and federal agencies and utilities, typically do not make unsolicited calls offering tax credits or other financial offers for energy efficiency improvements. Be wary of such callers and conduct research online to determine if the offer is genuine before providing any personal information. Energy Upgrade California will never ask for your social security number.

Questions or Concerns?

If someone contacts you claiming to represent Energy Upgrade California and you believe the call or visit may be fraudulent, please call us at 1.415.796.0135 or email us at energyupgradeCA@energycenter.org.

Additional Resources

If you have encountered any of the above tactics and would like to make a complaint, see the following resources: