Chris DeFeo of Claremont Management called the dispute “a nightmare” and said Con Edison was “playing dirty.”
MOUNT VERNON – A $179,000 gas bill dispute has Con Edison warning a building’s residents that their heating gas could be cut.
Con Edison sent notices to tenants at 27 Claremont Ave. around Dec. 15 informing them their heating gas could be impacted by Jan. 15 if the landlord, Claremont Management, doesn’t pay its bill.
Con Edison spokesman Sidney Alvarez said that as of Tuesday, the outstanding debt had not been paid. He also said tenants in the 110-unit building can band together and try to make a payment plan.
Chris DeFeo, of Claremont Management, called the dispute “a nightmare” and said Con Edison was “playing dirty.” DeFeo said a switch to an electronic meter reading system has created billing inaccuracies.
“We owe them something. Our dispute is what they came up with for our bill is way above our average,” said DeFeo. “How can you send a letter like that to our tenants and get them all spooked before Christmas?”
DeFeo said he’s taken the dispute to the New York State Public Service Commission for mediation. On Monday, DeFeo received an email from the commission’s Office of Consumer Services stating it is investigating the dispute.
A resident who said she recently moved into 27 Claremont Ave. confirmed she received a notice about the gas shut-off, but declined to be interviewed about the situation.
Dennis Hanratty, of Mount Vernon United Tenants, said he got a call from an alarmed resident of 27 Claremont Ave. on Monday seeking guidance.
Hanratty said he was surprised by the call because he described Claremont Management’s buildings as “very well maintained.” A one-bedroom apartment at 27 Claremont Ave. starts around $1,500 a month, according to the management company.
“My experience with buildings is that eventually landlords make some arrangement,” Hanratty said.