WE Energies calls today. They demand one of the staff gives them a tenant’s Social Security number or they are going to bill us. There are two problems with this. First a public utility cannot bill an owner if the owner gives them the name of the responsible party and more importantly third party disclosure of another person’s personal identifying information is illegal and just plain wrong in this day and age of ID theft.
Our frontline clerk says sorry, we’re not allowed ot give out tenants’ Social Security numbers. The WE “Customer Service” person says if they do not get the soc they are putting the bill in our name in that case. Our staffer hands the call off to her supervisor. The supervisor has an identical conversation and says “Here, Tim take care of this.”
So I pick up the phone and the first thing I do is ask the WE rep “What is your name and Social Security Number?” Her response is as expected “I’m not going to give you my Social Security number!” Okay so your Soc should not be shared, but our tenants’ should…hmm.
She obviously did not get the Social Security number and we equally obviously will not accept the bill
What the law is and how to deal with WE Energies.
A couple of years ago a bunch of owners came to me all with a similar problems. They had properties with separate utilities, yet WE Energies was attempting to collect utility bills from them that should not have been the owners’ responsibility.
If only they knew the rules they would have less headaches. So I wrote a lengthy email on the subject and posted it on the ApartmentAssoc at YahooGroups.com email list. Out of my frustration with email formating this became the first post on this site back in February 2008.
This problem seemed to have diminished for a while, but judging from owners I have spoken to recently it is back… with vengeance. But if you know the rules and follow them you will never have to pay for a utility bill that is not yours. Continue reading »
As a rental property owner in Milwaukee the following items should rank high on your list of concerns. (Just a draft) Continue reading »
Some days there seems to be no limit to attempts to cheat rental property owners out of their hard earned money. Tenants, the City and WE Energies all seem to stay awake nights figuring how to get your last few bucks.
In the past month many owners have asked ‘What is my responsibility to pay for separately metered utilities when the tenant moves or doesn’t place the account in their name?’ and then go on to tell their tale of woe, describing how WE Energies is attempting to extract money from them for utilities they do not believe they owe. Continue reading »