Pepco and Washington Gas Light Company will pay $100,000 to residents of Lynnhill Condominiums because the utility companies cut power and gas to the building after giving occupants only one day of notice before leaving them in the dark, the Maryland Attorney General’s office announced Tuesday.
More than 100 families who lived in the condos were forced to leave their homes after the utility companies stopped power and gas service Oct. 25, 2016.
The utility companies were required to give 14 days notice to each resident before cutting power to the 219 units, the Attorney’s office said in a release Tuesday.
Residents did not have enough time to find other housing options, leaving occupants scrambling to find a place to stay, the Attorney General’s office said. Some residents stayed with friends and family, while others checked into hotels or were forced into shelters. Some stayed in their apartments with no heat or electricity, the Attorney General said.
Some residents were at special risk because they were elderly or had special needs, the Attorney General’s office said.
Within two days of Pepco and Washington Gas Light Company shutting off utilities, Prince George’s County declared that the property was temporarily uninhabitable, and residents were forced to leave their homes.
Utility bills amounting to $1.2 million were left unpaid, News4 previously reported. However, residents say that they paid their utility bills to the condo association, and a management company mishandled the funds.
Three days after the power and gas were cut, the Maryland Public Service Commission ordered Pepco and Washington Gas Light Company to restore service to the building. The companies complied the next day and residents had continuous service afterwards, the Attorney General’s office said.
Problems persisted at Lynnhill Condos after gas and power were restored. Residents were forced to leave again Aug. 23 when the Prince George's County Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale announced the building had too many code violations to be habitable, News4 reported.
The Attorney General’s office say their investigations have found that Pepco and Washington Gas Light Company repeatedly failed to give people proper notice before cutting services. The companies have already refunded about $1.4 million to consumers, the office said.
Residents that lived at Lynnhill on Oct. 25, 2016 should contact the Maryland Consumer Protection Division by calling (410) 576-6569 to see if they are eligible for compensation.