Citizens Energy says apartment landlord to sell complexes, avoid utility disconnection

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Citizens Energy Group on Thursday announced an agreement with landlord JPC Affordable Housing that is expected to prevent the disconnection of utilities at four large Indianapolis apartment projects with hundreds of tenants.

The utility said JPC will sell all four of its properties in Indianapolis by year’s end: Woods at Oak Crossing at 3120 Nobscot Drive, Covington Square at 115 S. High School Road, Berkley Commons at 8201 Madison Ave., and Capital Place at 4100 Continental Court.

The apartment complexes were all built in the 1960s or 1970s and have a total of more than 1,400 units.

Citizens said the sale will “ensure” repayment of most of JPC’s past due utility-bill debt, now totaling more than $1.9 million.

“We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement to prevent utility disruption to the residents of the four JPC Affordable Housing properties while protecting our customer base from the full cost of JPC’s past due utility debt,” Jeffrey Harrison, president & CEO of Citizens Energy Group, said in written remarks.

The utility announced in July that it would disconnect water and natural gas services at the four complexes on Sept. 30 if the landlord did not pay its bills. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett issued a statement at the time, urging the utility consider other options while it pursued legal action against the landlord along with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

“Citizens has taken unprecedented efforts over the past two years to keep utilities connected at JPC-owned properties, including engaging in 19 payment arrangements with JPC, which were subsequently broken, and providing about two dozen monthly notices warning of potential disconnection,” Citizens said in its announcement. “In 2021, Citizens wrote off more than $240,000 of JPC’s past due utility debt after the sale of its Lakeside Pointe at Nora and Fox Club properties.”

Citizens said, under the agreement, the proceeds from the sales will be used to compensate Citizens and other creditors. Citizens expects to receive about 80% of JPC’s past-due amount. The agreement requires JPC to stay current on its monthly utility bills while the properties are for sale.

This story will be updated.

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