As WXYZ in Detroit reports, Natalie Forte owns a condominium in Waterford, where for the past five months, she would charge her Volt in a separate garage unit. The electricity bills are kept separate for the condo units, but the bill for the garages is split and shared with her neighbors, under fees paid monthly to the Home Owners Association.
When the HOA saw an increase in this shared electricity bill, they went after Forte. She agreed to cover the added electricity used by her Volt, and sent a check to the HOA for the amount – a figure that she quoted at $50.
But the Home Owner’s Association didn’t cash it. Instead, they demanded a $200 check, and when she didn’t pay, they cut power to her garage. Forte calls it a price gouge; according to her, $50 should have been enough to cover the increase in consumption caused by her Chevrolet Volt.
What WXYZ couldn’t provide is whether or not $50 would have been sufficient to offset the cost of charging Forte’s Volt. According to NPR, the average cost of electricity in the US is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Website MyChevroletVolt.com claims that 13.5 kilowatt-hours are required to totally recharge the battery from depleted (on a 110V outlet).
Assuming that Forte ran her Chevrolet Volt to depletion every day for five months and then recharged it, the total cost of the electricity would likely be more in the range of $240, though that’s a very rough figure. Now, she does argue that other residents have refrigerators and similar appliances running in their own garage units, but even an old, inefficient unit would likely run up a tab more in the neighborhood of $70 over the same 5 month period.
We’re still far from having all the facts, but as of right now, we simply don’t know if Forte’s story can be believed.