What should I do if I suspect that I am paying for electric or gas being used by another tenant or in a common area?
Foreign load is utility usage that shows up on a tenant’s bill that is from another unit or common space. If you suspect you are paying for gas or electric in another unit or common space, you can contact your utility to request a “foreign load” investigation. If the utility finds foreign load, they must transfer your account and any past-due account balance to the landlord or owner’s name.
How much counts as Foreign Load?
There is no amount of foreign load that is too minor or trivial, a single light in a common area counts. The account can only go back in the name of the tenant once the foreign load is corrected by the landlord and verified by the utility.
Only the debts at the current property can be moved into the landlord’s name, not debts that had been accrued at a previous address.
Can my landlord still ask me to pay for utilities if there is foreign load?
The utility cannot ask you for payment–unless it provides proper notices in the event the landlord does not pay for the service, discussed here. However, a landlord may ask for payment if you are responsible under the lease.