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4 Indianapolis apartment complexes to have water and gas shut off over delinquent bills

The utilities will be shut off Sept. 30 unless a payment arrangement can be reached.

INDIANAPOLIS — Citizens Energy Group tells 13News it plans to disconnect water and gas services at the Berkley Commons, Woods at Oak Crossing, Covington Square and Capital Place Apartments.

The utilities will be shut off Sept. 30.

“JPC Affordable Housing and Berkley Commons are continuing to cause great stress among their apartment tenants by not paying more than $1.7 million in utility bills despite collecting rent that includes funds intended to cover utilities. Citizens urges residents to continue contacting their property managers to demand they pay their past due utility bills,” said Michael Strohl, Senior Vice President, Chief Customer Officer at Citizens.

NOTE: The above video is from a previous report on a lawsuit being filed in April against JPC Affordable Housing and Berkley Commons LLC.

Citizens Energy Group said that if the disconnects happen, it will work with agencies assisting residents with relocation.

Citizens said it has worked to avoid disconnecting the utilities at the apartment complexes by offering several payment arrangements to JPC Affordable Housing and Berkley Commons LLC over the past 18 months, but said the owners have broken the arrangements or refused to agree to reasonable repayment terms.

“The irresponsible business practices of JPC and Berkley Commons are unprecedented in the 11 years Citizens has owned the water utility. Disconnecting the JPC and Berkley Commons properties are necessary to protect all Citizens customers from the cost of unpaid bills. This is especially important in Marion County where more than 20 percent of our customers are low income, “ Strohl said. “We appreciate the continuing efforts by the City of Indianapolis and the Indiana Attorney General towards holding the apartment owners accountable to pay the past-due bills.”

However, the mayor's office released a statement that was critical of Citizens Energy Group's decision to disconnect services. It reads:

The decision by Citizens Energy Group to distribute water shutoff notices to tenants of JPC Affordable Housing properties is incredibly disappointing. We strongly believe that repayment, as well as a positive outcome for the hundreds of residents of these properties, is best achieved through continued, coordinated legal action with CEG and the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. Instead, today’s action throws residents into uncertainty amidst an already challenging time. The City is considering all options in response and will continue working with all parties involved to prioritize the well-being of tenants and their families.

It was the city's $850,000 payment to Citizens Energy Group in February that kept the water on for residents.

RELATED: Problems pile up for south side apartment owner with unpaid utility bills

Citizens Energy Group filed a lawsuit in April 2022 in Marion County Commercial Court in an attempt to get the money owed. The lawsuit also requested the creation of a constructive trust over each of the defendants’ funds collected from tenants for water, sewer and natural gas utility services. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Citizens Energy Group claimed it was owed $1.3 million.

"I pay my water, my gas and the rent to them and my bills are not being paid? I mean, where's the money going? I mean, if you look around out here, this place is really falling apart and they're not doing anything," said Kim Wren, Capital Place Apartments tenant during an April interview with 13News.

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