Contact: Tony St. Romaine
Deputy City Manager
Office of Sustainability
Renters looking for an energy-efficient rental property now have an additional resource on the City of Columbia website. A section has been added that allows residents to search electric and water usage history for rental units. Users can search by clicking a point on a city map that indicates the location of rental properties or can search by address.
On April 21, City Council established a utility and data policy requiring the city to provide on the website utility information for all residential rental properties, including electric and water utility cost and usage, and an indication of the heat source (electric or gas) being used, if known. The address location of the utility services is provided, but does not include customer names or contact information.
This new feature not only provides customers in rental properties easy access to their energy usage data, but also helps prospective tenants consider the full cost of housing when making rental decisions. The data can be downloaded in a Microsoft Excel file for easy export to other applications. In the future, the hope is that access to this information will inspire the creation of innovative consumer applications from entrepreneurs, businesses and students.
Users should be aware that utility data can vary significantly based upon individual behaviors and choices. Therefore, if looking at a specific unit in an apartment complex, it is advisable to research the utility data for other similar units in the complex. The site also includes tips on how to find an energy-efficient rental and how to be more energy efficient once renters move in.
The historical electric and water usage for rental units can be found on the city's website at: http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Finance/Utilities/rental-costs.php.