Disconnection of utilities in a master metered community to tenants who don’t pay utilities


#1

We own a community in TX that has a master meter for water, gas and electric. We are in the process of getting the public city utility to service each tenant directly, it’s a leighthy and frustrating process.

Meanwhile we are disconnecting tenant’s utilities in accordance with the TX Public Utilities Commission rules and chapter 94 of property code. But the JP judge keeps granting writ of restoration for tenants that file a motion without giving any good reason.

Some attorneys are telling us to appeal and file in County Court and get a higher level judge to rule, but some other attorneys are telling us that even if the County judge rules in our favor the JP judge does not have to follow the county judges ruling.

Has anyone had t deal with this issue?


#2

I can think of a couple underlying reasons.

  • The tenants have to pay new deposits with utilities on all 3 services that could amount to several hundred dollars. I would prefer my existing service in that scenario since it won’t cost me anything additional out of pocket.

  • Switching all three services at once is a lot of change and outages. Does your cutover plan have the customer in mind so that they have all new services in one day, or are they spread out over several weeks? Is there a change management wrapper on this to make sure the tenants know how to handle the process, and new bills with 3 new utilities? Can appreciate lots of frustration on their end as well.

There might be other reasons, but I’d figure out a way to minimize the impact of these two items to ease your pain.

Good luck and keep us posted…


#3

Def interesting topic and didn’t even thing about some points that J hutson had mentioned.

I was personally wondering why the tenants would not want it but i could see with the deposits ?

Is that the only hurdle or what are the other objections that have come up ? Is the cost substantially higher for them by direct bill instead of master meter?


#4

We will change the electric to be billed by city to tenant directly. That is the only system we will change. Currently we use rubs on all 3 utilities. The 3rd party utility billing company doesn’t charge deposits for tenants. We don’t expect there to be any outages for the electric after was make the switch.