Wind company under investigation

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Steve Stultz failed to show up for appointments, failed to install equipment properly and failed to make good on contracts, according to complaints filed with the Iowa Attorney General’s office.

Stultz, owner of Prevailing Power and Rocky Wind Power, sells wind-power generators for people’s homes. In each of the four complaints received by the attorney general’s office, the generators failed to work. And in one case, a system caught fire.

Michael Vonnahme of Manning, Iowa, said he paid nearly $50,000 for his wind system. He has had the system since May 14, 2009, and told authorities in Iowa it still is not working.

The Vonnahmes said that Stultz failed to show up on several occasions, and once the system was installed, didn’t come to turn it on. When they turned it on, the system “ran wild and then proceeded to literally burn itself up.”

“We now realize he probably does not have a name of a satisfied customer because everyone I have talked to is very unsatisfied,” Vonnahme said in his complaint. “We did contact a lawyer in October and he advised us to give Mr. Stultz a deadline of 15 days to be fair and then if the system had not been fixed, contact the attorney general.”

The Vonnahmes are asking for their money back, or a replacement system.

In his written response to authorities, Stultz explained that Prevailing Power was using a Chinese-made generator with a factory defect. And though the company is no longer selling that particular brand of generator, it is standing by any warranty issues, he said.

Ted Japp of Blair, Neb., only wants his $17,000 back.

“They should remove their tower and equipment from my property,” he said in his complaint to the Iowa attorney general.

Japp’s tale includes repeated failed attempts to get the wind turbines working on his system.

“In my opinion, Prevailing Power’s only interest is to collect the $16,995 balance,” he said. “They have no ability to make mine work, or they would also have previously been able to get all the other similar ones to function as well.”

Again, Stultz said that the fault lies with the generator, not with Prevailing Power.

Walter Graham, 83, of Sheanandoah, Iowa, had similar complaints: failure to arrive, failure to return calls, failure to complete the job.

Stultz said delays in Graham’s case were caused by equipment issues with, again, faulty wind generators, and said that his sales agreements made no guarantees of installation dates “due to uncontrollable factors.”