Update March 11, 2013
By Lauren V
I live in a STUDIO apartment and work during the day. My meter was replaced in late January and my first electric bill since then is absurd. I’ve averaged around $130 for the past several months, including December and January when I did run the heater most nights. February has less days, I ran the heat less, and I was out of town for almost 7 days yet my bill is $267. How in the world is a studio apartment miraculously doubling its electric usage in a short month? Further, the power blows out every morning if I try to use my hair drier on anything more than low. See attached for photo.
We received a comment about the high electric bills in Gateway plaza which supports the notion that the Gateway staff, during the green energy meeting, were misleading the community by claiming that average electric bills were only $71 per month. The person wrote, “Lefrak is overcharging the rent stabilized apartments through the electric bills. My electric bill was $400 last month despite the fact that I work all day and barely turn on my heat. It’s obviously illegal, yet no politician is willing to step in. I lost all of my food in the hurricane, but unlike ConEd persons, I was not granted the $400 reimbursement. I do not understand how it is legal to overcharge rent stabilized apartments by “making it up” in their electric bill. The new tenants would never stand this. They have insulated their apartments and given them energy efficient units. I have mold growing all over my bathroom yet no one will fix it. What the new tenants should understand is that my apartment and those of the other rent stabilized decaying apartments are next to theirs.”
Meanwhile, the Broadsheet publication is posting letters claiming that their bills are modest and only $81 per month. The Matt Fenton article covering the Gateway green energy meeting also completely failed to report on the issue of replacing the windows and heaters which would cost at least $10,000 to LeFrak. Publisher Robert Simko lives in Gateway.
To get to the truth of this scandal, and determine whether LeFrak is indeed trying to “smoke out” the rent controlled units and replace them with new market rate apartments, help us collect data. Send us photos of your electric bill and any stories you want to share.