Duke Energy isnt the only utility in hot water. It turns out that Campus Apartments, a major owner of student apartment complexes, has improperly acted as a utility because of the way it charged residents for electricity use, according to the N.C. Utilities Commission. The story, related by The N&Os David Bracken last week, is a lesson in how it pays to examine housing bills closely.
Thats what Judy Long did. Her daughter moved into the companys Campus Crossings in Raleigh in 2009. The complex, citing common practice in the student housing business, charged $30 a month for electricity per bedroom but raised the charge if electric use exceeded a certain point. Later Campus Apartments put a separate company in charge of the billing, for which residents had to cough up a $45 fee. Long complained to the Utilities Commission, which found that the apartment company was essentially reselling electricity when it wasnt a utility. The commission also ordered the $45 fee refunded.
Clearly, students would be wise to study their monthly bills, and to minor in consumer protection.