Monday, January 15, 2018

Our IKEA solar panel problems - 2018

Monday 15th January 2018.

Dear Hanergy Customer Services,

Our solar panels were installed in February 2014. We went with IKEA, because we trusted their brand, and their subcontractor was yourselves, Hanergy. We were pleased at the time with your service.

On December 4th 2017 I called you to report that our Feed-In Tariff meter, the Elster meter, had ceased working. This is a problem because it means we can't claim revenues via the FIT. You said you would contact the local installer and get the meter replaced.

Eight days later (Dec 12th) I contacted you again, as I had heard nothing. You replied in an email that you would chase the installers up.

It is now January 15th 2018, almost six weeks from my original fault report. I have heard nothing from the installers, nor is there any evidence that you are progress chasing them.

Given this unacceptable level of service, we need to move to more effective measures.
1. Please let me have the contact details for your local installers so that I can chase them up myself.

2. In the event that they are as unresponsive as they have been to you, I reserve the right to appoint a qualified engineer to replace the Elster meter myself.

3. Please confirm that you will cover any charges incurred in the latter case and let me know the best process for billing you.
I understand that you are no longer subcontracting to IKEA, and that you have moved out of the residential solar panel business. Nevertheless you have a contractual liability to your existing customers and I intend to raise this matter shortly with IKEA.

Please feel free to escalate this issue within Hanergy.

Yours sincerely,

Nigel Seel.

Update: Tuesday 16th January 2018.
Dear Nigel Seel,

We are very sorry that you have not been contacted and we have called and sent several messages to the contractor who coordinates with the installers. Will continue to chase them and try my best to get you an appointment asap. If you have not heard from the installer by Monday we will use a local electrician to replace the Elster meter.

If you hear from the installer, please let me know.

Kind regards,
Hanergy Customer Service

Update: Tuesday 23rd January 2018.
Dear Hanergy Customer Services,

Thanks for your note of January 17th 18. As perhaps expected, I have heard nothing from any installers.

I would be grateful if you could move to the next phase of the process and contact a local electrician here in Wells. You might consider Install Electrical who we have used in the past, and who have some experience, I believe, with solar panels. Here is their website.

I also attach a photo of the meter to aid identification.


Nigel Seel.


Update: Wednesday 31st January 2018.
Dear Hanergy Customer Services,

Well, another week has gone by and we have heard nothing. Perhaps it's time I pursued this myself?

1. Could you please confirm the warranty situation as regards this Elster meter? Are you liable to pay for a new meter and its installation? What level of cost did you have in mind?

2. Could you please authorise me to organise replacement of the meter myself?

3. How do I bill you?

4. I believe that some letter of installation has to be prepared for my power supplier (First Utility) to explain the change in meter readings for the Feed-In Tariff. Perhaps you could explain the necessary paperwork?


Nigel Seel.

I very quickly got this reply from Hanergy. SolarCentury are IKEA's replacement residential solar panel people after Hanergy moved into the business market.

Dear Nigel Seel,

Really sorry that you haven't been contacted. Just spoke to the contractor and SolarCentury and she promised to contact you by phone to arrange a date.

Please let us know if you have been contacted. If not we will go with the local electrician to replace the FIT meter.

Thursday, 1st February 2018.

In their most recent email to me (above), Hanergy noted that theu had contacted IKEA's current provider of solar panels, Solarcentury, to handle the replacement of my failed meter.

Accordingly, just before lunch I called Solarcentury (customer services). The woman took my details, said she would contact head office to find out who handles relations with Hanergy, and would get back to me later today.


Friday, 2nd February 2018.

Clare from Solarcentury has just rung to tell me that an engineer will visit next Wednesday, February 7th to replace the faulty Elster meter.

Quick work, Solarcentury! Thanks!


Wednesday 7th February 2018

The Solarcentury engineer arrived this morning and has replaced the Elster meter (free of charge). It's now registering power and I have emailed First Utility with the new details.

Good job from the engineer and from the Solarcentury contact centre person Clare.

My reflections:

Hanergy should have simply advised me to contact Solarcentury, rather than stringing the whole thing out over a couple of months.

Solarcentury are obviously working hard to live up to IKEA's customer service standards.

Hopefully this problem is now put to bed.


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