Seeing the light
7/26/2018, 6 a.m.
Kudos to Cora Hayes, the longtime public housing activist, who was instrumental in bringing a class action suit against the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority for overcharging public housing residents for electricity for more than four years.
As a result of Ms. Hayes’ tenacity and the successful court action on behalf of the tenants by lawyers with the Legal Aid Justice Center and Consumer Litigation Associates, RRHA will refund about $1.28 million to current and former public housing residents.
Additionally, RRHA will make an additional $1.3 million in adjustments to current and future electric bills.
On average, affected RRHA residents are expected to receive refunds or credits averaging $112. Some families will receive larger amounts representing reimbursement for wrongfully applied late fees and inaccurate billing.
Too often institutions and large companies take advantage of consumers, particularly the poor, the elderly and those they believe they can fleece without detection, recourse or a fight. But Ms. Hayes and the five other plaintiffs who joined her in the lawsuit showed that David can defeat Goliath with perseverance and getting others with the necessary tools to join in the battle.
Judge John A. Gibney Jr., the federal district court judge who approved the settlement earlier this month, also commended Ms. Hayes and the other plaintiffs for “standing up” to RRHA.
We hope this will be a lesson to RRHA officials and others in the area who try to take advantage of consumers. What is done in the dark will come to the light.