INDIANAPOLIS — The Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County has filed a complaint to keep the water flowing at four financially troubled Indianapolis apartment complexes.
The complaint, filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, seeks to stop Citizens Energy from shutting off the water at a quartet of apartment developments where the owner has refused to pay the utility bills.
Last winter, the water was turned off at the Berkley Commons Apartments on the city’s southside and at other properties owned by JPC Affordable Housing Foundation.
The outstanding bills totaled well over $1 million, even though residents were charged utility fees every month as part of their rent.
At the time, the City of Indianapolis stepped in and took on half of the debt totaling about $850,000.
Included with the filing before the IURC are door tags from Citizens Energy warning residents that another shut-off is looming on Sept. 30 as the talks with JPC about its overdue bills are not yet resolved.
HHC is seeking IURC intervention because it claims the tenants are innocent pawns stuck in the middle of the Citizens’ legal battle with the apartment owners.
The City and the Indiana Attorney General have also filed civil lawsuits against JPC to force compliance, repayment or to put the company’s properties into receivership.
Late Sunday afternoon, Citizens Energy Group issued the following statement:
“Citizens Energy Group is actively negotiating, in hopes of reaching a settlement agreement, with JPC Affordable Housing regarding their more than $1.8 million of past due utility debt that has been accumulated over the past 18 months. Our goal throughout this period has been to secure an agreement with JPC that ensures continued utility service to their four apartment properties while protecting Citizens’ customer base from the full cost of JPC’s past due utility debt. Citizens recognizes the hardship utility disconnections cause and that’s why the utility is a leader in ensuring financial assistance to customers through our bill reduction programs, grants from our Warm Heart Home Foundation and flexible payment arrangements.
Citizens has fully informed the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission about our actions related to the billing dispute with JPC throughout the past 18 months.“Citizens Energy Group