Thursday, February 07, 2008

Electric Bills Shock Snowbird RV Park Residents

Snowbirds at the south Fort Myers RV park were finding that their electric service was being billed at a rate more than double the previous seasons.

Donald and Lois Evans have spent five winters in the park on San Carlos Boulevard. The couple, who hail from New York, started "getting outrageous electric bills" from Gulf Air - $147 for one month compared to $44 the previous year.

"I don't mind paying. But I want them to be fair," Lois Evans said.

The rent Evans paid at the park had almost doubled. She wondered if the same was true for electricity.

The park is owned by Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc., a Chicago-based company that has been gobbling up mom-and-pop parks all over the nation and now owns and manages 311 RV and manufactured- home communities and resorts in North America - including 81 in Florida, according to documents filed with the Security and Exchange Commission.

Residents in the park were being charged 32.6 cents a kilowatt hour - about 20 cents more a kilowatt hour than the company was paying for the electric from Florida Power and Light.

Spokesman Grover Whidden said that RV park owners can pass along electric costs to the residents but they can't charge over what it costs them. Selling power at a profit is reserved for utility companies.
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