L.C. from Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I bought my condo last year. It was never disclosed to me in closing anything about signs and lights on my circuit breaker that I have to pay around $200 a month for these lights. When I contacted the manager and asked why he kept this from me after many people told me he was paying former owner for years. I want him to pay or take off my circuit breaker, he said he can’t. I now shut off circuit breakers because outside lights go on 3:45 daytime and shut off 8:45 next morning unless snow rain or gloomy then 24 hours a day. After shutting off the circuit breakers so outside lights don’t go on he comes over almost a year it took and wanted to give me check for $350.00 for 1 year and I declined. I want to keep lights off 1 month for 30-31 days and compare and have proof why should I pay for everyone’s electric?
Mister Condo replies:
L.C., that is an unfortunate situation to be sure. It looks like your solution of denying the association power for their lights and sign has worked to the point where the manager is now attempting to negotiate with you to keep the lights on. Over the years, I have heard of many instances where association lights have been wired to individual unit owner’s power. This happened back when the units were built and the developer didn’t take the time to create a separate circuit and power service for the association. It was a shortcut with long-term repercussions as you have seen first-hand. The ideal solution would be for the association to have their own power meter for the association owned lights. That way you can’t control whether they are on or off (you shouldn’t be able to control that for safety purposes alone) and you wouldn’t have to deal with price and usage fluctuations over time. Short of that, your solution of getting paid what you rightly should for electricity that you provide to the association is the second-best solution. Hold your ground, determine a fair dollar value for the electricity and make sure the association doesn’t take advantage of your willingness to pay for the electricity. My guess is they will agree to a fair solution. Good luck!