Utility complaint turns into $9,000 in credits for apartment customers

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Broken meters and faulty estimates by a contractor have resulted in more than $9,000 in utility credits for residents of a Lexington apartment complex.

Recently, the Office of Rate Intervention in the state Attorney General’s office received a utility complaint from a tenant of Parkway Manor, a housing complex located in Lexington, related to abnormally high natural gas bills and the lack of fluctuation in month-to-month usage, AG Daniel Cameron said in a release.

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ORIs investigation found that while Columbia Gas provides natural gas utility services to Parkway Manor, RealPage Utility Management, a Texas-based sub-metering company, remotely reads natural gas usage for each apartment.

RealPage then provides billing information to Parkway Manor, who bills customers according to their usage.

The state discovered the meters had failed to electronically transmit natural gas usage for at least six months. During this time, RealPage estimated tenant bills. A total of 162 units were impacted, and many were over-billed for natural gas services, according to the release.

“Tips from concerned citizens matter, and we appreciate a resident of Parkway Manor reaching out to us with information that led our office to investigate this issue and seek credits for residents who had been overbilled,” Cameron said, noting the case was handled by investigator Heather Napier.

He added RealPage Utility Management and Parkway Manor cooperated.

While private companies are not regulated by the Public Service Commission, RealPage responded to ORIs investigation by issuing a work order for the transmitters at the housing complex to be repaired and calling for actual readings of each tenants natural gas usage during the period in question.

After recalculating actual usage, RealPage informed ORI the tenant who filed the complaint would receive a credit of $95.06. All other tenants will receive credits totaling more than $9,000.

Parkway Manor will distribute credits to residents impacted by the estimation.

Tenants who have moved out and have not yet received their security deposit will receive a utility credit in addition to their deposit, and residents who have already received their deposits will receive a refund by mail.

Current Parkway Manor residents can expect credits to appear on their November 1, 2020, bills.

Kentuckians can file utility complaints with the Office of the Attorney General by visiting ag.ky.gov/utilitycomplaint.