A condominium owner in Waterford, Michigan is upset after her homeowners association told her she was no longer allowed to plug her hybrid vehicle, a Chevy Volt, into the electric outlet in her garage. Natalie Forte says she loves her Chevy Volt but the board of her homeowners association voted to cut off power to her garage, according to WXYZ Action News in Detroit.
Natalie owns a condo in Waterford along Elizabeth Lake Road, where she says that her homeowners association never had any rule against plugging in hybrid electric cars. Normally, according to Forte, the association pays for the electricity in the garages. Residents, of course, fund the homeowners association, so electricity in the garages is a shared expense. After a few months, the HOA informed Forte that it would not cover the electric bill for her Chevy Volt.
Forte says she agreed to pay around $50, because that is what the power company stated was the added electricity over the five month period in question. Forte says that the HOA would not cash her check for $50. Instead, she told WXYZ Action News, they tried to charge her $200. She refused to pay the extra money, and went to the press with the story.
“Action News contacted the HOA president. After hanging up on us twice, he would only confirm that the HOA board voted 4-1 to kill Forte’s power to her garage, forcing the woman to charge her electric hybrid from her condo from 100 feet of extension cord.”
Transport Evolved, a blog featuring articles about hybrid and other eco-friendly vehicles, pointed out that the homeowners association added a mark up “on the actual cost of the electricity she claims the local utility company billed the HOA.” Forte said she has always been willing to pay the extra charges from the electric company that plugging her hybrid car into the 110-volt outlet in her garage accrued, but she is not willing to pay a mark up on the electricity.
Forte says that with her check for $50 still uncashed and her electricity turned off in her garage by the homeowners association, she has no other choice but to run a 100-foot extension cord from her condo to her car. The extension cord, according to Transport Evolved, runs from her unit, drapes down a flight of stairs, and is laid across walking paths. Forte says she’s not paying the association the $200.
“[It’s] gouging. Definitely gouging,” the Volt owner told local news reporters about the bill presented to her by her homeowners association. “Up to four times as much money. I feel harassed.”
[Photo by Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz]