Lies In Service Writer Notes, Refusal To Comply With PUC Policy
A Colorado Landlord Has Nothing To Eat For Two Weeks
Xcel Energy uses unethical practices in collecting alleged past due sums
Under P.U.C. rules, when a landlord leases his property to a third party, that third party establishes a new utility account. If the landlord has a dispute with Xcel, the landlord's tenant, who is an innocent third party, has nothing to do with the dispute. That is the theory.
Recently, a tenant from India leased a small commercial space on Denver's growing East Colfax Avenue. The Landlord told the Tenant he was battling with Xcel Energy, but was fairly certain the Giant Xcel would not take their wrath out on innocent third persons. Currently, the Better Business Bureau has 39 complaints for unethical billing practices by powerful utility.
The Landlord had been doing battle with XCEL Energy unfair debt collection practices for years. For example, on another building near Kalamath St. in Denver, owned by the Landlord, XCEL refused to transfer the utilities out of the Landlord's name despite a valid lease having been provided to Excel Energy. The building had two meters. Excel transferred one of the two meters to the tenant, but refused to transfer the second meter.
For 4 years, Xcel Energy periodically called the Landlord and threatened to turn off utilities for the meter they refused to transfer. The calls caused a great deal of distress to the Landlord who was having tough financial times and could not afford to lose his tenant. The agents repeatedly insisted the Landlord was responsible for payment and threatened collection action on an account the Landlord did not owe. The Landlord repeatedly told Xcel Energy he was not in possession of the property and was not responsible for payment. Excel agents lied in their notes they keep for each conversation and said the Landlord had accepted responsibility and was in residence.
Back to the East Colfax building. When the Landlord's prior tenant moved out of the building, Excel Energy was happy to restore service to the Landlord. When they transferred the account into the Landlord's name, they didn't tell the Landlord they were going to transfer old, disputed, accounts from other properties onto the new account. They also didn't tell the Landlord they were going to require a large deposit to continue services. Once the service was in the Landlord's name, Excel Energy transferred in the old disputed accounts, and instituted a deposit requirement. The Landlord, who has health problems, who had nothing to eat for over two weeks in 2012, could not possibly pay the new massive combined bill, nearly $2,000. Xcel Energy turned off the utilities.
The Landlord made a verbal complaint to the Public Utilities Commission who sent the Landlord to Jeff Eden, a trouble shooter for Excel. After Jeff reviewed the lease he adjusted the bill to zero, realizing the Landlord had not been in possession and should not have been responsible. No apology for the unethical comments and attempts to collect the bill was ever made.
When the Landlord offered to make a payment on the East Colfax property, Eden arranged to have the utilities turned on. The parties agreed to make efforts to resolve the bill, though Eden refused to agree to an amount and timing for the next payment during the call. The Landlord disputes parts of the bill, especially the portion of the bill that was being transferred from other properties and the arbitrary deposit placed by Xcel Energy.
Meanwhile, the Landlord leased the building. Xcel Energy put the new tenant, who does not speak the best English, through a difficult process. They insisted the Tenant provide a copy of the Lease which the Tenant did. The Landlord believed Xcel Energy would abide by their obligation to transfer the utilities to the new tenant. Meanwhile, the Landlord began reviewing information from Xcel Energy, including some of the false notes made by service writers.
The Landlord, who has been skipping meals because of finances, was devastated when he heard Xcel Energy turned off the utilities on the East Colfax property. His tenant, who should not have been involved in the dispute, was harmed. The Landlord may lose his Tenant at a time when he is barely managing to survive. It was late in the day when the Landlord contacted Jeff Eden, who said there was nothing he could do. Apparently he needed to get home and feed his children.