Company owner: Employee suspended over accusations of misleading statements

'Johnny's House' co-host says Home Energy rep. was all about sales

A local home energy company owner told News 6 he has suspended an employee after finding out about accusations he was misleading potential customers.

This comes after Laura Diaz of XL 106.7 says she answered the door to a fast-talking young man last week who claimed to be working with Duke Energy.

Diaz says he was wearing a bright vest -offering a home energy check-up that could “save her 40 percent on her overall energy costs.”

She says the  pitch  was  convincing  as he explained the “energy consumption” in her neighborhood is “extremely high on the grid.”

Diaz says he was using terms she wasn’t familiar with but that he never really explained the Duke Energy relationship.

It turns out he is with Efficient Home Services of Florida, or EHS, based in Clearwater. The company sells everything from solar panels to attic insulation.

There is no relationship with the power company, though, according to Duke Energy. In fact, the woman we talked to at the Clearwater office told Investigator Mike Holfeld it must be a “misunderstanding. we never told people we were with Duke Energy, we offer energy audits.”

Duke Energy spokesperson Ana Gibbs says the company investigated and sent EHS a “cease and desist” letter Monday.

“Unfortunately we have various companies that call or come to our customers in different ways,” Gibbs said. “They have nothing to do with us.”

Duke serves roughly 535,000 customers in Central Florida, according to Gibbs.

For consumers unsure if  the guy at the door really is with Duke Energy, call 1-800-700-8744.           

EHS owner Wiley Fanning contacted News 6 after the original story aired, explaining that it is not procedure for employees to say they have an affiliation with any power company.

He said in an email to News 6, in part:

"We try and separate ourselves from the electric company as much as possible.  To us, telling people we are from the electric company is not only a lie and misleading (and embarrassing), but it is also counter-productive to what we do, and it works against us, not for us... After doing some research, we have suspended the employee that is accused of misleading people into thinking we are with the electric company. We want people to know who we are. We save people money! We put our customers first!"

He went on to say:

"What we have found is a lot of homeowners don't realize they could be paying much less for electricity than they currently are.The purpose of our door-to-door folks is to offer homeowners a free home energy evaluation. If the homeowner is interested in saving money, and finding out where they have inefficiencies, we will schedule the evaluation. We then send one of our professional energy evaluators out to their home at the scheduled appointment time to show them what they could do to save big on electricity. We offer everything from solar panels, insulation, HVAC, windows, lighting, weather stripping, and just about anything that could help lower electric bills. We structure everything so that it does not effect the homeowner's budget, and so that it doesn't cost them anything out of pocket. We are fully licensed and insured, our door-to-door team is permitted by the city, we work with contractors that are also fully licensed and insured."

Fanning said if anyone feels they have been misled by a representative, to please let EHS know, as they do not condone those actions.



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