Got a call concerning a 1 bedroom apartment today.
Background info that I know.
It was a house, converted to apartments.
When, I have no idea yet.
Customer tells me she is paying over $200/ month for electric, one bedroom place, no washer dryer, electric heat that is off most of time.
3 meters outside, one for each Apartment.
None for the "house load".
Claims she has the smallest of the the three, pays the most, she "knows" her meter is supplying circuits to other apartments, that she is paying for.
Question, other than 210.25, is there any other reference than I can provide to her to to give her a "leg to stand on" against her landlord.
I am headed up there on the 22nd of this month to pull the meter and see what gets shut off and where. She is going on vacation from the 24-29 of this month. I suggest pull the meter for this time, and see who complains. She will clean out the fridge.
Anyone been down this road, and any advise you can provide as far as the legality end goes?
Maybe a differernt avenue to provide her?
Be careful removing power from occupied dwellings without permission. This is illegal in most states. Second there may be an elderly person relying on a medical device for survival if they die you could be in big trouble.
Maybe it's something as dumb as the power company not having the right meter associated to the right apartment. Tenant A paying tenant B's power consumption, and B for A. A sees bigger bills, tries to conserve. Then B sees small bills, and thinks his usage is low and maybe it goes up as he thinks his loads are not burning as much power as they really are. And thus not worry about conserving. A's bills are now getting outragious enough to prompt her to have it checked out. ?
These jobs are better then the movies, the last one we went to, there were 3 patrol cars, building inspector, a social worker, and the medics, the medics were treating the landloard, the police were hand cuffing one of the tenants, and the social worker was crying, the building inspector got in his car and left, we followed the building inspector.
Last one of these I went to (it's been a few years); the apt dweller had the house eqpt on their meter. We pulled the meter after dark then called the landlord to come see. Put it back after he arrived and witnessed the situation. Probably wasn't the smartest thing we could have done considering the house eqpt was "under load" when we pulled it.
Super low tech.
Have you tried turning off all electric appliances, lights, etc. and unplugging the ones with no on/off switches and observing the meter with no load?
If the meter is still going at a good clip then something is amiss. If the neighbors agree they may at that point start turning off their loads while observing the meter. After all their loads are off bring on your customers loads and observe any differences between the respective meters.
I don't know what kind of meter it is so I don't know how difficult it would be to observe disk rotation, flipping numbers etc., but for $200 a month that thing must fly.
Thanks to all, good points.
I could shut the main breaker off to the apartment and see one of the meters stop, if the main panel for that apartment is accessable.
What I was looking for is, lets say we shut everything in her apartment down, and the meter still runs, where do you go from there?
Call in an electrical inspector to verify this?
Call the township, to have the landlord comply with 210.25?
Basicaly, what if the landlord says "so what".
Where do you go from there, to help her out?
From what she tells me, the landlord happens to be a lawyer, who doesn't do anything he is suppose to, in fact, he sends her the electric bills, not the power company, and sometimes he writes on them "estimated bill".
Anyone got any advise on this one?
if you shut the main to the main panel and the meter spins someone has tapped ahead of the ocpd to feed another load..
in this case you would need to split this out..
[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 03-15-2005).]
If she has a legitimate case and the Landlord won't make it right maybe your PA Office of Consumer Advocate would be able to help or advise. http://www.oca.state.pa.us/Default_IE.htm
Around here SW Pa, at least one of the local power cos. DQE, will not set up an account for a tenant until it can be shown that their account will only be charged for their usage. I've been involved in several situations and had to do some creative things to satisfy the code. In one case I had to put in redundant lighting for the basement stairs as well as the laundry area with two sets of lights with each set exclusively controlled by the respective tenant.
It sounds as if an end run is being made by the landlord and he is acting as his own power supplier, buying off of the local utility and selling it to the tenants (contact the PUC maybe). If the tenant does have an account with the power co. they would probably come out and verify that all's well, or not.
Maybe a call to the local building dept is in order. With shortcuts like this, I would bet that there are other areas that are on the wrong side of the fine line.
Often times these old houses are cut up into apartments without the proper permits pulled, not properly inspected and no occupancy permit issued either. The building dept should be able to help in this regard as well.
OK, one for the books here.
Went there to meet the tennant, 3 room apartment. Bedroom, living room and kitchen. Very small. Guy is of Arabic background.
Very hard to understand.
Anyhoot, I shut down the panel, and go out back to look at the meters, One is stopped, the other 2 are still running.
First off, I thought there should be 4 meters for a 3 apartment building, 3 for the apartments, 1 for the house loads.
There is a door in the back where the all the service entrances apear to go. I figure it was a common area where I would find the grouping of the panels, and to my delight I was met by a older woman with a plank in her hand yelling at me to get out of her apartment.
Needless to say, there was the 3 main panels I was looking for, in her apartment. 3 SE cables in, 3 100a disconnects, 3 Se cables out.
After we calmed her down and did some explaining, it comes down to the orginal tennant was not paying for someone elses electric, he was reading his bill wrong.
He recieves one bill from the township for his electric usage, his water usage, his sewer usage all on the same bill.
The older woman with the plank is paying for all the common stuff, the outside lighting, washer and dryers and such.
Now a couple questions come to mind here.
1. should there be 4 meters outside?
2. should the SE (3) wire change over to 4 wire (SER) from the main disconnects to the sub panels in the apartments?
3. shouldn't the main panels be in a common area, not in a location, considered her apartment?
4.also, there was only one main panel with an electrode grounding conductor in it?
I should take my camera with me, you never know what you'll find........
They are going to talk to the landlord, who happens to be a lawyer, and electrician, and the plumber.
Get paid! Wash hands. (Of situation) Run... Shut phone off, that order.
"landlord, who happens to be a lawyer, and electrician, and the plumber" AKA Slumlord.
I doubt it is legal anywhere to use what was probhably originally intended to be a Panel rm, or Utility Rm as a dwelling. Or for that matter have this person pay for common area useage. Seeing that there are 3 meters, and 3 units, she is paying one? Who is paying the other two? Two of the three tenants?
...Couldn't you throw an amprobe on the load side of the meter,with the tenants panel shut down??..That way,if even the slightest load is present,you got your problem solved..
Borough owns the elctric meter, and will not allow you to pull it without them there. They are the only ones allow to pull meters.
I called them before I went out.
After 5 minutes or so the meter never moved and after looking at the disconnects in the other apartment, it was time to go.
You can't break the seal either, was advised against doing that too.
[This message has been edited by Dnkldorf (edited 03-23-2005).]