AUSTIN (KXAN) – David Buttross lost nearly 150 tenants after hot air kept pumping into his building when air conditioners should have been on.
He owns five buildings in the Cameron Road area and signed up for the energy saving program through Austin Energy two years ago. Under the program, he had all the thermostats replaced in all five of his buildings. It was supposed to save him money, but that never happened.
Of his 250 tenants, only about 100 have stayed. He blames the thermostat glitches.
“We lost a ton of tenants because you’re in Texas and your office is 105 degrees in the summertime,” Buttross said. “What would happen is (the thermostats) would cycle off and instead of air kicking on, the heater would kick on and it would be 110 degrees in the offices.”
He even bought sensors to measure what was happening and check the temperature coming into the rooms. While inspecting the rooms Monday, one thermostat set at 75 degrees suddenly adjusted itself to 82.
He called in company after company to try and get it fixed. More than 25 companies couldn’t fix it, so he continued to complain to Austin Energy.
“Look, we’ve done all we can,” he told the utility company. “Twenty-five air conditioning companies can’t be wrong.”
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Just last week, Buttross says Austin Energy admitted that there are ‘glitches’ in the system that couldn’t be fixed. But when he asked them to replace the units, they refused, he said.
“(Austin Energy) said there’s so many of them that they could not afford to replace them.”
He called the consumer help line while KXAN was there on Monday, which revealed even more problems.
“There is a small chance the batteries may leak or overheat,” the recording said.
After KXAN looked into the issue, Austin Energy representatives said they would, in fact, fix the problem. They have agreed to replace all 85 of the thermostats at no cost to the business owner.