Tenants at new Granger apartment complex fed up with soaring electric bills
GRANGER, Ind. -- Tenants at the recently opened Villas on Fir in Granger are dealing with a bit of sticker shock. It's not because of the rent, but the electric bills.
At first look, the Villas on Fir seem like a great place to call home. At least that's what Lisa Waverly thought when she and her family moved in last October.
"They were really nice," said Waverly. "We liked it"
The luxury units offer top of the line amenities, but when the first electric bill arrived it seemed life at the villas would come at a much heftier price.
"It stated that for 18 days we were charged $771," said Waverly.
The apartments use electric furnaces instead of gas, but at that time the thermostat was only set at 65 degrees.
Thinking it was a mistake she called the leasing office and was told to Indiana & Michigan power.
"We ended up having to pay it," said Waverly.
But the problem didn't stop there.
"Our bills are still sky high," said Waverly. "Our last bill was over $400."
She's not the only one. Another neighbor down the street was also hit with a $400 bill and the community forum for tenants was quickly filling up with similar complaints.
"When you think of a luxury area you think of something that's been better upgraded," said Wavery. "With it being brand new you expect state of the art technology, but we didn't get that. "
Watermark residential who manages the property eventually sent out this message to tenants saying: "This community is new construction and as we are working through our first year of operations, we thank you for your patience."
But patience were about to run thin as temperatures outside plummeted well below zero.
"There was days last week I was sitting in here freezing to death with blankets on," recalled Waverly.
They were even forced to resort to ceramic space heaters.
Watermark's Vice President of Property Management, Aimee O'Connor sent ABC57 this statement: "Watermark Residential is actively working with our residents at The Villas on Fir and Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) to test units in response to resident concerns over the electric bills. Over the past month, we have worked with I&M and an outside energy efficiency consultant to complete apartment home testing. All meters and utilities passed inspection."
Despite those inspections and promises of new smart thermostats, bills continue to skyrocket -- forcing some tenants to buy themselves out of their leases.
Having just moved here from Arizona moving is not an option right now for Waverly. She's hoping management will eventually come up with a solution.
"It's a beautiful apartment complex," said Waverly. "If they just fixed the problems."
I&M spokesperson Schnee Garrett could not comment on the specifics of the situation, but did send this statement: I&m employees have been and will continue to work closely with Watermark apartments to find efficient ways to provide electrical service to its tenants and our customers.
Watermark also sent us a full list of all the steps they have taken so far to address this issue.