PSC Sued By Landlord Over Stay of Electric Submetering at Manhattan Apartment Buildings

According to the Manhattan Real Estate Blog, Urban American has sued the PSC to overturn the PSC’s September 17, 2009 Order which stayed implementation of submetering at four Manhattan housing projects run by Urban American.

Major multi-family owner Urban American is suing the state Public Service Commission over electric billing in thousands of units of mostly rent-stabilized apartments in Manhattan.

The New Jersey-based company filed a lawsuit Jan. 15 in State Supreme Court in Albany to overturn a ruling by the commission that blocked the company from individually billing tenants in four Manhattan apartment complexes for electric usage, known as submetering. Currently the electrical charges are folded into the rent bill based generally on the apartment size, not on actual usage.

See also Landlord sues state over electric billing, The Real Deal, Jan 29, 2010.

For background on the Manhattan submetering stay cases:

Urban America Charging Eastwood/Roosevelt Landings Residents Up To $1000 In Monthly Submetered Electric Bills – Can That Be Right?, Roosevelt Islander, February 6, 2009

Submetering Slowed at Roosevelt Island – Temporary Stay of Submetering Conversion at Roosevelt Island and Three Other Locations, PULP Network, Feb. 12, 2009;

PSC Continues Stay of Submetering at Four Former Mitchell-Lama Projects, PULP Network, July 10, 2009

PSC Stops Submetering at Four Buildings, Sets Conditions to Address Tenant Concerns, PULP Network, September 17, 2009

Other Pending PSC Cases:
Tenants in several other projects have petitioned the PSC to stop submetering due to

  • failure to conduct an environmental impact analysis of segmented actions required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA),
  • failure to gain informed tenant consent to submetering and lease changes,
  • unfair economic consequences causing tenant hardship and displacement,
  • saddling tenants with high operating costs of inefficient landlord-owned structures, fixtures, appliances and controls,
  • deeming electric charges to be rent and threatening eviction for nonpayment of disputed charges,
  • noncompliance with initial PSC orders allowing submetering,
  • overcharges, and
  • circumvention of the Home Energy Fair Practices Act (HEFPA).Submetering Update, PULP Network, February 22, 2008

See, for example:

Oceangate Tenants Ask PSC and DHCR to Halt Submetering and Conduct Environmental Impact Assessment Under SEQRA, PULP Network, January 28, 2010

Riverview II Tenants Rebut Owner’s Opposition to Request to Stay Submetering, PULP Network, November 03, 2009

Hazel Towers Tenants Association Seeks Review of PSC Submetering Decision, PULP Network, October 30, 2009

Yonkers Riverview II Tenants Again Ask PSC to Halt Submetering, PULP Network, October 14, 2009

Town House West Tenants Association Files Supplemental Complaint Against Stellar Management’s New, Unfiled Conditions of Submetered Electric Service, PULP Network, September 02, 2009

Town House West Tenants Association Interlocutory Appeal of Secretary’s Referral of Stay Application to Office of Consumer Services, PULP Network, August 7, 2009

Tiffany Mews Tenants Ask PSC to Halt Submetering with No Proper Order and No Filed Tariff or Contracts Approved by the PSC, PULP Network, July 31, 2009

Parker Towers Tenants Still Waiting for PSC Action on Petition to Halt Submetering, PULP Network
, PULP Network, July 23, 2009

Bronx Riverview Tenants Ask PSC to Halt Submetering, PULP Network, July 21, 2009

Town House West Tenants Ask PSC to Halt Submetering, PULP Network, July 21, 2009

Submetering Challenged at Claremont Gardens in Ossining, PULP Network, May 15, 2009

Submetered Yonkers Tenants Show How PSC Order Allowed Landlord to Shift Electric Bills to Low Income Tenants, PULP Network, May 6, 2009

Hazel Towers Tenants Ask PSC to Act on Submetering Complaints, PULP Network, May 6, 2009

Parker Towers Residents Petition PSC to Vacate Prior Submetering Order, PULP Network, April 22, 2009.

Yonkers Tenants Ask PSC to Halt Submetering at Riverview Towers, PULP Network, April 9, 2009

For further information:
See

Landlord Discloses Submetering Company “AMPS” Conducted Unauthorized Time of Use Pricing Experiments on Tiffany Mews Tenants, PULP Network, November 12, 2009

Ontario Electricity Board Bans Landlord “Smart” Submetering of Electricity Without Energy Audits, Transparency, and Specific, Informed Tenant Consent, PULP Network, October 02, 2009

Submetering Summit, PULP Network, May 22, 2009

N.Y. Times Perpetuates Myth Supporting Unjust New York PSC-DHCR-NYSERDA Submetering Regime, PULP Network, August 28, 2009

Lax PSC Enforcement of Submetering Orders Allows Landlords to Overcharge for Electricity Sold to Tenants and to Circumvent HEFPA Protections, PULP Network, November 6, 2008

Residential Submetering Update, PULP Network, February 22, 2008

PULP’s website page on residential electric submetering.

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