This deal was too good to be true

In October 2010 we received a postcard inviting us to attend a demonstration about saving energy. The card said we would receive either a free chicken dinner or rib-eye steak dinner for attending. My wife and I attended the presentation where the representatives showed an impressive amount of energy savings by using two of their several products. The two products were a "reflective insulation shield" and an energy-saving "Green Box" technology.

The "Green Box" was described as being a way to help an electrical inductance motor extend its service life and also reduce a homeowner's electrical consumption. I inquired in late December 2010, as to the then advertised Underwriters Labs (UL), Honeywell and NASA independent evaluation of the item. As of this date I have not received any reply to my inquiry.

The "reflective insulation shield" was advertised as something that "does more than just stop drafts, it also effectively seals up cracks or gaps in the external sheathing, blocking radiant heat, resulting in better year-round efficiency and comfort levels." It was described as "a polyethylene foam core with scrim reinforced double sided aluminum facings" that "can be used in all facets of the building industry where conventional insulations are used." They advertised a 20 to 30 percent reduction in electricity usage from this product.

I bought their "reflective insulation shield" and had it installed in December 2010 on my house for $2,999. The product is a dismal failure. I would appreciate any help in disseminating information that this is probably a scam that may affect other unsuspecting consumers.

Since moving to my current location in September 2007, I have kept comprehensive temperature records and used these temperatures as a base to determine the effectiveness of the "reflective insulation shield" to reduce my electricity usage as the company advertised. I have made temperature readings daily between the hours of 6:30 and 7:30 a.m., which are considered the lowest temperatures of the day.

Prior to the "shield" being installed, the average monthly low temperature for the time frame December 2009 to May 2010 averaged 32.9 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average monthly kilowatt-hour usage for that same time period was 1,660.8.

In order to make the fairest comparison, I kept the average low recorded temperatures and kilowatt-hour usage for the same time period after the "shield" was installed. This was from December 2010 to May 2011. The average low monthly temperature was 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit and the average monthly kwh usage was 1547.5.

The overall six-month average reduction totaled 113.3 kwh per month for this time frame after the "shield" was installed. This is approximately a 6.8 percent kwh reduction per month. I believe that this miniscule reduction was due to the slightly warmer temperatures, not because of the "shield."

The return on my investment to install the "shield" at a cost of $2,999, calculated at my current kwh rate, will take me approximately 272.9 months or 22.7 years to break even, if my electric rate remains steady for 22.7 years.

I believe the advertised energy savings is a farce.

I hope others do not become a victim of this scam.

A member of Blue Ridge Electric

Editor's Note: This co-op member asked to have his name and location withheld while he pursues a resolution with the business he refers to. Similar offers have been made in this and other regions of the country, and his experience is not uncommon. Electric cooperatives routinely advise their members to be wary of energy-saving claims that seem "too good to be true." Contact your cooperative if you have questions or would like information on using energy efficiently.

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