Common area in the building

10 Replies

Hi, I bought a building where I have common area and basement. Is common area considered Residential or business? PSEG charge me gas and electricity as business. Any input appreciated.

Is it a commercial or residential property? If it's a residential, I'd get on the phone with them and have them change your rate. Even if though the rental property may be part of your business, the building itself isn't used for business purposes(unless specifically allowed in your leases). It is solely residential income, and therefore should be billed at a residential rate.

I usually like to give utility companies the benefit of the doubt and assume it was just an error on their part, which in my experience has generally been the case. However, it may not have been, and you may have to do more than just give them a call. If that's the case and they absolutely won't change their rate, I'd call a lawyer if I were you and see what can be done.

If the lawyer's fee for getting the rate changed is more than you'd save on utilities, it's probably not worth the hassle of getting one involved. I'm a stickler for principle, so I usually go after places like this, but that is personal preference and I would not suggest it if you don't have the time or money to go after them with a lawyer.

Thank you for reply. It's a residential MF. I was told by PSEG that as I am the owner, the common area is business and they charge me at business rate. 

I would argue that even though the building is part of your business, the common area is not used for business purposes, and thus should not be billed at a business rate. That conversation you can have with the utility company, if they continue to push it, I'd consult with a lawyer about laws concerning utilities in New Jersey and/or read up on them yourself. I haven't heard of residential units being billed at a business rate before, but I may be the minority in this case. Either way, before getting in touch with a lawyer I'd argue that since the building is not being used for business, it should be billed at a residential rate.

Is PSEG the only company or could I change to different company?

For electric, there may be options for which company generates your power, but you are most likely stuck with PSEG for transporting the electricity from the supplier to your property.

You can also contact your local energy commission which regulates utilities in your area. They would want to know if a power company is billing incorrectly and can tell you whether they are or not and the specific regulation that governs it.

@Hanna Minkin please do let us know if you were able to get this changed. We have a duplex in Newark with a third meter for the common area which also includes the garage. This meter is a commercial one. And no amount of explaining has served to get PSE&G to agree to change that meter to residential.

Ro Maga, Yes I have the same problem. They are doing investigation and telling me it's commercial and not residential. I am trying to explain it's residential. Thinking of changing PSEG for someone else.

How much per month are you paying for the common area? 

How about the heat?

Commercial rate on a multi-family landlord’s meter.

Are you not renting out the place? Making money? You and others don’t live in that area, right? I have JCP&l and have the same adjustment... it really is not that big of a deal. 

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