Call Kurtis Investigates: Mobile Home Park Tenants Charged Outrageous Gas Bills
A Call Kurtis investigation looked into how a Davis mobile home park was overcharging some tenants. When one homeowner was getting outrageous gas bills, she called Kurtis.
She lives in a Davis mobile home park. The way it works is that PG&E bills the park, which has one meter. The park then divides up the bills to individuals who live there, based on their meters.
But she says the bills for her 480-square-foot mobile home are outrageous.
“It’s horrible! It’s like camping in your house,” said Angela Kuehl.
Since moving in last June, Angela and her 8-year old daughter Tara say they’ve hardly used any gas in their little 12- by 40-foot home.
Angela says they do most of their cooking on an electric hot plate and a microwave.
They tried shutting down all gas appliances, even taking their clothes to the laundromat.
But their gas bill sent from the mobile home park averaged about $200 a month.
“What the heck? I was like in shock,” said Angela.
Her neighbor’s bills are no where close to hers.
“This month it was $15. Usually it’s less,” said Cody Frank, neighbor.
Angela had PG&E come out several times looking for leaks but found nothing.
When she complained to her mobile home park, Davis Mobile Estates, the owner told her they already switched the meter for the previous owner, who also complained of high bills, so the problem must be the home.
We called Yolo County’s Weights and Measures and they came out to inspect Angela’s meter as it was changed out again.
“This is our main priority; we drop everything,” said David Guerrero, deputy sealer with Yolo County Weights and Measures. “The meters are actually pretty good pieces of machinery. They’re very, very accurate.”
Guerrero says most of the time, the meter isn’t the problem, so his office tested the old meter, determining it was fine and that the mobile home park was billing Angela 10 times more than they should have.
Park owner Jason McDougall refused to tell us how this happened and hung up on us when we pressed him.
But after our investigation, Angela got a refund for the $708.44 she was overcharged. We also tracked down the previous owners, who said they got back more than $4,000 for nearly two years of overbilling.
“I know it’s not us and I know I’m not crazy,” said Angela.
Weights and Measures says Angela and the previous owner were being billed in hundreds of cubic feet, instead of in tens of cubic feet. Weights and Measures also tells us mobile home parks cannot profit from electric or gas bills.
Angela and the previous homeowner called PG&E and the mobile home park owner, but never knew they should have called their county’s Weights and Measures department.
In Yolo County, Weights and Measures tells us the meters are only inspected once every 10 years. But each year, the mobile home park is required to bring in 10 percent of their gas and electric meters for testing.