Friday, June 11, 2010

Oceangate Tenants Reply to Owner's Defense of Submetering

We have previously discussed the halt of electricity submetering at the Oceangate apartment complex in Coney Island. See Oceangate Submetering on Hold Pending PSC Review of Tenant Petition for Stay and Impact Assessment, PULP Network, February 20, 2010. The association of Oceangate tenants, the North Bay Tenants Association, filed a Petition asking the PSC to halt implementation of submetering due, among other things, to lack of due process when the order allowing submetering was being considered, the submetering of electric heat, and the need to conduct a review under SEQRA of potential displacement effects due to a likely mismatch between new charges for electric service and insufficient adjustments to rent or utility allowances.

The owner, a Starret Corporation affiliate, filed its Response May 14, 2010.

The Northbay Tenants Association filed its Reply June 10,2010. The tenants argue that submetering should not be imposed because:
  • No assessment of the impact of submetering electricity for heatupon 542 low-income tenant households at Oceangate has ever been completed or even initiated;
  • Commission experience and precedent necessitates an assessment and mitigation of financial harm to tenants before submetering of electricity for heat is permitted, and Respondent did not submit information to the Commission sufficient for it to make such an assessment;
  • The owner failed to satisfactorily submit necessary information;
  • The owner failed to satisfy requirements of PSC and HUD regulations designed to protect tenants;
  • The prior order was issued by the PSC without timely and adequate notice to tenants of any opportunity to participate in the proceeding, in violation of lawful procedure and of the tenants' rights to due process of law required before issuance of an order affecting their homes, their leases, and their property.
The North Bay Tenants' Association is represented by PULP.

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