Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    12

    Question Tenant's Responsibility for Excessive Utility Bills

    Sorry this may be a little lengthy. I'm a Michigan resident currently renting a small one bedroom apartment (I use very few lights and keep the heat to 65 degrees). Winter came so i began using my gas furnace for one month with no problems (utility bill about $70). Then the furnace broke so maintainance came to fix it, the next month my bill was over $150 (mostly from gas useage), so i called the property management company and a different maintainence person came out and said the first repair was done incorrectly. I reluctantly paid the $150, happy that this was behind me. But I just got the bill for this month and the utility bill was $440 (Gas $110 and electric $330). I called the property management place again and they agreed to send someone else out to see what the issue is. The person they sent out simply left me a note that the bill reflected utilities prior to their most recent repair, which it doesn't.

    Is this right for them to do? I can't afford, nor do I feel I should pay $440 per month to be cold and in a dark apartment. For comparison, my next door neighbor keeps his apartment at 75 degrees and he only paid $80 last month.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,656

    Default Re: Is this utility bill my responsibility?

    Why is the electric bill so high? Electric space heaters?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Is this utility bill my responsibility?

    That is my question too, I haven't done anything to make the electric so high also. It seems the property management wants to chalk it up to the broken furnace a while back, but I don't believe the gas furnace would eat up that much electricity...

    I've been checking my meters every day since, and I'm not using even 10% of what they claimed I had used.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    28,117

    Default Re: Is this utility bill my responsibility?

    if you are checking every day and if you are using the exact same amount of electricity, you wouldn't be using 10%. You would be using 1/3 of that (3.333%).

    It would take you 3 days of usage to total 10% of the months total.

    How does this compare now?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Is this utility bill my responsibility?

    I meant my dailey useage (they claimed I used just under 3000 units of electricity in a 30 day month = 100 units per day, which I assume to be kilowatt hours) and I have been using about 9 units each day since. So they billed me for a little more than 10x my current observed useage. Sorry this was unclear.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    28,117

    Default Re: Is this utility bill my responsibility?

    are the most recent meter readings (by the utility) accurate? Obviously they wouldn;t be exact unless you read it the same time the meter reader did) Have you ever compared readings before all this started?
    One possiblity is that previous readings were estimated or simply incorrect and the most recent one basically "caught you up" with the actual reading.

    We also have been having some extreme weather in SW MI that has increased everybody;s use of gas and electricity. What was the weather like?

    Does your neighbor have an extension cord plugged into a receptacle supplied by your elec service? Maybe the neighbor is usig electric space heaters plugged into such a recep. That would account for his low bill and your extremely high bill. I am somewhat joking but I have seen such situations)

    Is this apartment a complex built as such or is it a converted house or such? Sometimes in those cases, a tenant unsuspectingly pays for common electrical usage or even another tenants power without realizing it.

    Did your furnace seem to be running an exteme amount during the month the bill was so high?

    While a gas furnace obviously uses gas and would cause an increase in a gas bill if it were to run a lot, the fan in a furnace also uses a lot of electrical power and would, of course, cause your electric bill to increase.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Is this utility bill my responsibility?

    Check your power bill to see what your multiplier is.

    Everyone has one... 1x, 10x, 100x, etc.

    If you have a 10x multiplier, then your meter is only registering 1/10th your energy usage. This seems likely - you would take your usage of "9" and multiply it by "10" to get 90 KW*Hr per day.

    For ~$20 you can get a device called the "Kill-a-Watt." You plug it in-line with any AC cord to see how much power that device is drawing. An average P4 computer draws 0.2 kilowatt hours. That means, for every 10 hours you use your PC, you use 2 kilowatt hours. (turn off those PCs at night!)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: Is this utility bill my responsibility?

    Hmmm, well while I didn't check until all of this started, I'm confident that I'm not using $440 in utilities in any given month. I checked all of my outlets and such (there is one on the balcony) and the wires that are on the outside of the apartment near the meter and everything seems to be coming and going from my place only.

    I'll definitley get one of those Kill-A-Watt things to address the useage in my appliances.

    As far as weather, yes the weather in south east michigan was very cold that month, but the heater, in my opinion, was not running excessivley.

    I truly think something is wrong; whether it be the meter reader's error or an appliance needlessly sucking up electric. But since I've called to address outrageous utility bills in the past, and it seems that the property manager hasn't fixed the problem, what should my next step be (aside from the Kill-A-Watt already mentioned)?

    Should I call the utility company or try to get someone else from the property management place out here again? Am I allowed to refuse paying?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is this utility bill my responsibility?

    I don't think you can refuse paying, but you can always dispute it later if there is an error.

    You can also talk to your utility company - if you cannot afford your power bill, you can talk to them and they might be able to let you pay it back over a longer term or connect you with a utility subsidy program (usually for people who make under a certain $amount per year)

    You can turn off all your circuit breakers and go look at the meter. It should not be spinning with your breakers turned off! Then turn them on one-at-a-time and see which one causes the meter to spin the fastest. (or vice versa - turn them off one-at-a-time to see which one causes the greatest decrease in usage).

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Rent and Utilities: Responsibility for Utility Bills When Living With Roommates
    By roberle73 in forum Living in the Rental Unit
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-17-2011, 03:11 PM
  2. Rent and Utilities: Responsibility for Utility Bills After Moving Out
    By shortys910 in forum Living in the Rental Unit
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-07-2010, 10:46 AM
  3. Homeowners Associations: HOA Behind on Utility Bills
    By jlazanowski in forum Ownership and Title
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-24-2009, 09:45 AM
  4. Rent and Utilities: Roommate Will Not Pay Utility Bills
    By gear502 in forum Living in the Rental Unit
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-29-2007, 01:03 PM
  5. Debt Collectors: SOL in Michigan for utility bills
    By pvc36 in forum Debts and Collections
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-26-2006, 09:33 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 
Forum Sponsor
Landlord-Tenant Forms
Expert forms for all states. Residential & commercial. Immediate download.




Untitled Document