Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceRenting & Real Estate · 1 month ago

Do utility companies need to provide proof of usage if billing through an apartment complex? ?

My apartment complex uses Conservice to provide electric, water, and sewage. I get a bill in my email every month with the amount of electric I used but the water and sewage is just an amount I owe. I moved to a college town and every complex I have lived in so far uses Conservice and I have always had issues. To start its impossible to get in touch with anyone at Conservice. I've sent about 5 emails and can not tell you how many times i've called over the span of months with no response. 

My concern is two things. 1- My bill seems extremely high. I live in a 2 bd 2 ba apartment. I am gone for at least 10 hours a day and my roommate has not been living there due to Covid. I did some research and Conserivce is telling me I am using the same amount of electric as an average family home. I don't understand how I could be using so much. I no longer have fish tanks running. I do not use my heater, i unplug everything before I leave and use candles more than lights. I still can not bring this bill down. My other concern is I am not shown an amount that I used for water. The apt complex tells me they have one water bill and they then dived that up into everyone who lives at the complex and they take a percentage out to cover the pool and leasing office but we have no proof of this? For all i know they are charging us for everything and anything. I have a right to ask for proof right? 

Update:

Also wondering if anyone has dealt with anything like Conservice. If we dont pay we get charged $45 a day for a late fee that the apartment set up. Which again is hard because I can not get in touch with Conservice. My apt makes us pay through their site. However I am not the only one having issues with Conservice. Many other students are being charged high amounts to and the reviews on the BBB are absolutely awful. it just seems sketchy compared to how I've dealt with my utilities before. 

8 Answers

Relevance
  • 5 days ago

    Washington home buyers from https://www.samedaydchomeoffers.com/

  • 1 month ago

    Electrical usage is largely determined based on air gaps, loss of heat/cold and windows.  Old windows are not energy efficient, especially if they are single paned.  When we had all of our old single paned aluminum framed windows replaced with vinyl Low E, we saved an enormous amount each month.  The difference was like night & day.  It sounds like water & sewage is divied up evenly among the renters, after the complex pays some.  If that's what you signed on for, that's what you get. 

  • 1 month ago

    Try contacting Conservice through a different method (like calling them during a non-peak time to discuss the issue.  You can buy a meter monitor  (see link) to make sure your usage is being properly measured.  But also ... pay attention to the bill as the increase price is often attributed to the customer charge, not the usage.  Personally I would be more focused on the landlord and the water/sewage bill.  In most states that allow a landlord to charge for unmetered usage, they can't charge a premium.  And it sounds like that is exactly what they are doing to try to pass off the expense of maintaining the pool (which should be inclusive of your rent).

  • 1 month ago

    At least for the electric, I would run some tests, if you can.  Find the breaker box and the meter. Is the meter running quickly?  If so, then its probably legit.  Turn off all breakers.  Did the meter stop? If not, there is a problem.  If the meter stopped, turn on the hvac - how fast does the meter go?  How about the appliances - what does that do?  Turn everything back on.  Is it the same as whre it was?

    This could easily be legit and the question is, where is the electric being lost?  This might be due to a old inefficent hvac or even an ok hvac with little to no insulation in the house. If its not the hvac, then there aren't that many other things that can legit casue this (hot water heater maybe).  Its also possible (unlikely, but possible) that something isn't grounded or wired properly and electric is literally leaking out of the system (and this can be dangerous - but if the electrcian who wired it up did their job then it should be ok).

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 1 month ago

    The apartments are not individually metered for water and sewer is a percentage of water use plus a minimum.

    Conservice takes the entire usage for the building and divides us by the number of residents.  They then add whatever fees they charge for their service.

    Electricity is likely based on actual use.  You can always read your unit's meter to keep track.  

  • 1 month ago

    Sewage - In all the houses I have lived in, this has always been a flat rate regardless of usage.  This amount doesn't change per month does it?

    Water - You can check with your landlord/tenant advocacy group in your area to determine if percentage billing is allowed for residential property. 

    - you can ask for proof of the billing and how your share is calculated.

    There is no such thing as "average house".  Also, electricity costs vary significantly by different areas and you haven't told us the costs.  Nor do we know if you are actually using a lot of electricity or you just think you because it seems high.

    - In my area, the average electricity cost for an 1100SF 2 bed/2 bath in the winter is about is $78 (i.e. no A/C).

    - Be mindful that unplugging things like TV and computers when you leave, usually doesn't save money.

    Is the $45 late fee in your lease?  If it's not, they probably can't charge it.  If it is, you agreed to it when you selected this place. 

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    If Conservice is billing the apartment and the apartment is then passing the cost along to you, Conservice doesn't have to talk to you because you aren't their customer.  Your landlord is their customer.   

    Yes, your apartment needs to provide proof of usage for the tenant bill-back.

    Laws vary by location, but many multi-unit dwellings don't have separate meters and the utilities are cost-shared by unit in which case they can't show you what *you* used; they can only show you what the meter uses.    I actually lease 10,000 sq feet of office space in a six story building that has three meters and about 40 tenants.   It's all spelled out in the lease what percentage of which meter each unit is responsible for.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Its based on your meter. Turn everything off and go outside and see if its turning. 

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.