JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – If you’re moving into or renovating a home, in some instances, you could be held responsible for the prior tenants’ outstanding utility bills. That is the case with one Jackson woman trying to remodel a family home where she didn’t live.
This resident said her attempts to renovate a house built in 1937 are being halted by thousands owed past due fees. Services she never used, but it’s up to the company to decide if she must pay.
“I lived here from the time I was nine years old until I graduated from high school,” said Mary Washington while walking through the living room of the house on Fortification Street.
Now she is trying to remodel her grandmother’s house and hopefully live there. But she says her deceased brother’s wife lived at the Fortification Street home and left owing thousands in unpaid utilities. The companies now want her to pay those bills before she can get service.
“The water bill is over $3,000. The gas bill is over $2,000,” said Washington. “I can not afford that, and I don’t think I should be responsible for services that I did not use.”
Entergy turned on power in September, and the contractor is able to work. Company policies vary.
Atmos Energy Public Affairs Manager Robert Lesley said, “We appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We can only discuss account details with the person(s) listed on the account, and we are working directly with the customer to resolve this issue.”
Meanwhile, Washington said she won’t give up trying to transform the home in the historic Farish Street District.
“It’s very discouraging, very, very discouraging,” said the retired call center manager. “I am trying to make this area, this house look better to do things for our neighborhood, not just for me but just for people walking through.”
Washington said she is researching the laws and plans to reach out to the Public Service Commission and lawmakers about the policies of the utility and water companies.
Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Copyright 2023 WLBT. All rights reserved.