EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) CenterPoint Energy says they are telling residents at Woodland Park Apartments their power and gas could be shut off by the end of next month. CenterPoint Energy says it’s been in contact with the owner since 2019 trying to get money for unpaid bills since the residents are only responsible to pay rent. The energy company says the apartment’s owner has made some payments, but not enough.
Tension in the Evansville apartment complex has been high since CenterPoint announced the possibility of shutting off their electricity. Some tenants are already in the process of moving out after getting phone calls about owing bills they aren’t responsible for. One of the residents moving out is a mom who wants to remain anonymous.
“Me and my kids gotta get away from this stuff,” said the mom. “They’ve called more than once saying I owe a bill for electricity. I’m like everything is included so how do I owe a bill?”
“We’ve been getting stupid phone calls everything from water, electric,” Jeff Crane, who has lived at Woodland Park Apartments for five years, said these calls have left him wondering two things. “Why ain’t things being fix? Where’s all the money going?”
“We don’t deserve the conditions we are living in either there’s mold everywhere and all in my hallway. That’s why I’m moving. I gotta get outta here. It’s not safe,” said a mom.
CenterPoint Energy says shutting off electricity for all of the residents will be a last resort come late august if a payment plan isn’t agreed to and honored.
“We want to be able to work with the customer. If they want to maintain an arrangement to where we can get the past due balance taken care of we obviously would like to avoid disconnection of services,” Alyssia Oshodi, communications manager for CenterPoint Energy said they are encouraging all residents to contact the apartment’s management team and encourage they to pay all the bills they owe. The CenterPoint Energy is not able to switch the electric services into individual resident accounts due to mass metering.
The company says they are trying to give Woodland Park residents as much advance notice as possible on the potential power and gas shutoff.
Evansville City Councilman Alex Burton says a coalition is forming to help residents in those 120 apartments. They plan to see what their needs are and what other housing options there are for them. He adds they have a 45 day window.
“We know that the impact is far reaching and there are a lot of moving pieces, but starting that conversation is important to each and every one of us so that we all know how to move forward,” said Burton.
“CenterPoint Energy understands the seriousness of this issue and would like to reiterate the company exhausted all options in an attempt to avoid service disruption. Residents are encouraged to contact Woodland Park Apartments management directly to encourage payment to possibly avoid disconnection.“