Joyce Simms never had to pay for electricity at her apartment in Johnstown’s Prospect neighborhood.

So she was surprised when she received a $113 past-due bill and a 30-day shutoff warning from Penelec.

It is the latest troublesome development for residents of a development called Hilltop Place, where Florida-based owner Hill Estates LP faces foreclosure and apparently has stopped paying its bills.

“They haven’t been paid in over a month,” Simms said from her William Penn Avenue apartment.

Hill Estates administrators last year pitched a $3.2 million renovation plan for its Johnstown duplexes, but the situation has deteriorated rapidly since then.

In addition to fines for alleged code violations, the company is the target of a foreclosure filed by an Ohio bank that contends Hill Estates owes nearly $2.8 million on its mortgage.

Company administrators have not responded to repeated requests for comment.

Hilltop Place residents have received notice of the foreclosure and a pending sheriff’s sale. Now, they must worry about utility bills.

Penelec spokesman Murphy Montler, while saying he could not comment on a specific customer, said tenants have rights when a landlord’s bill is delinquent.

Residents can call (800) 545-7741 and speak to a Penelec representative. But Montler said tenants likely would have to pay the past month’s bill to avoid a shutoff.

“The last thing we want to do is disconnect service to our customers,” Montler said.

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