It’s odd that First Billing Services is participating in Smart City 2.0.
33% will be retrofitted for a new transmitter, requiring no investment or action from property owners. This expense will be covered by the Utility and Johnson Controls, the contractor overseeing Smart City 2.0 – Evansville’s initiative to move the city forward with accurate, modernized and wireless meter reading infrastructure.
The Connor Group (or First Billing Services, Mount Everest, or whatever spiderweb of companies Larry Connor hides behind) will buy a property like The Quarry. The Quarry will already have individual water meters with transmitters in the apartments. The Connor Group could bill each resident for the water that resident uses. Instead, The Connor Group chooses to bill residents using an estimated amount of water based on some ratio that they create. The Connor Group will also refuse to disclose publicly in their advertisements or on their website that this is how they bill. (One resident pressed TCG, FBS, and the BBB to find out. The Connor Group paid him off rather than disclose.) The Connor Group may make you sign a paper at closing that you understand this, but this is usually a point in time where one has given notice, hired movers, and turned over deposits.
The point is: The Connor Group/First Billing Services is able to participate in a program that delivers value to the city and the residents of Evansville, but they can’t be bothered to do the same for the residents of their very own apartments. I’d love to ask Larry which of his company’s core values that demonstrates, but “Sweetness”, as his squash buddies call him, doesn’t speak unless it’s some manufactured platitude funneled into a press release. The only time you’ll really know what Larry’s thinking is when his lawyers serve you.
Here’s another little aside: Water used to be included in most rent. Landlords wanted to bill for water. Entities that sold or re-sold water were regulated by the EPA and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Landlords lobbied to sell water and NOT have to comply with SDWA. The landlords reasoning was that if residents had to pay for the water they used, they would use less water. It would be an exemption that benefited landlords and impose on renters, but it would conserve water.
The Connor Group in its infinite perverse wisdom turned this on its head like every other law and regulations that applies to them and started billing by RUBS. So, residents are not paying for only the water they use and the incentive to conserve water is lost.
The Connor Group does bill water by usage in North Carolina where it is the law to do so. Ohio legislators introduced a bill to require the same, but that’s a whole other story.
To summarize, a landlord takes advantage of an exemption to bill residents for water to conserve resources but only bothers to complete the part that involves billing residents. The same landlord then goes to work for a utility that IS subject to SDWA testing regulations and delivers the same service it refuses to deliver to its current customers unless forced to by law. When a certain residents takes to the internet to point out this and other raw deals the landlord is dealing to its customers, the landlord files a lawsuit to punish said resident and chill his speech. While said speech is often barbed with memes and obscenities, said speech also contains legitimate political and consumer discussion such as this. This should be offensive to landlords, residents, journalist, lawmakers, investors, vendors, and anyone else that has stumbled across this story or had it thrust in front of them.
See also: connorgroop.com