Regency Residents Continue To Speak Up
COLUMBIA - Some neighbors at the Columbia Regency Trailer Park continued to look for answers Friday to explain their high utility bills.
This follows Thursday night's demonstration at the trailer park where around 60 residents who live or had lived in the park voiced their concerns.
Gilbert Garcia is one resident searching for a solution. Garcia lives in a two bedroom trailer and owes more than $400 in utilities for a 38-day period. He said he is not afraid to speak his mind to get help.
"I'll come out and voice my opinion to [find out] why are we paying such high light bills in a trailer park where the city's forgotten about us, where the corporation that's running this trailer park just don't care about us," Garcia said.
Columbia Water and Light spokesperson Connie Kaprowicz said around eight city employees have looked into meters at the trailer park. While some residents said the broken meters are the problem, Kaprowicz said otherwise.
"Our staff put out several different metering devices, checked to make sure the meter was indeed working greatly, which it was, and then also made sure that no one had tampered with it," Kaprowicz said.
Garcia said there is no way he could have used enough energy to generate the bill he received. Kaprowicz agreed that the bill is high for the size of a his home.
"For customers that live in a small mobile home that don't have a lot of electric appliances their consumption is extremely high," she said. "Something you would see more in a larger home."
However, she said the problem is that the home is not very energy efficient.
"Our feeling is that it's probably more on the user side as far as living in a completely uninsulated place with an air conditioner that might not be functioning properly."
Kaprowicz said there are weatherization programs available for low income families through the Central Missouri Community Action or CMCA. She also said the city helped Garcia get an energy efficient air conditioner.
Kaprowicz believes further investigation by the park's owners could lead to a better understanding. However residents said the park's management and the corporation that owns the park, Churchill Group Incorporated, aren't helping.
"It has to be stopped, someone has to figure out why these bills are occurring," Garcia said. "It's not just [my bill], there's a lot of people in this park that are also experiencing the same thing."
For more information on CMCA weatherization and rebates for energy efficient appliances visit the links above.