CenterPoint Energy Nightmare: Cypress Woman Nailed With Sky-High Bill Due to "Meter Tampering"

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In August, Carsie Launey opened her monthly electric bill. A number approaching four figures was before the decimal point.

"CenterPoint Energy had billed me $923.39, claiming the electricity meter installed at my property was tampered with," says Launey. "I never tampered with that meter. I wouldn't even know how."

The issue in question occurred when a CenterPoint employee visited Launey's home in Cypress to perform a routine inspection of a new smart meter. Launey explains that the company, during a standard upgrade, swapped out the old hardware 19 months previously.

"I asked what the tampering charges were for exactly. [The inspector] stated that it entailed the cost of labor to remove the meter," she says. "Funny, since I assumed the old meter removal labor costs were covered when CenterPoint voluntarily and without my knowledge installed a new smart meter."

In addition to "tampering distribution charges," Launey says that she was nailed with "the maximum allowable of six months estimated back usage, as well as labor, material, diversion, lock bar and meter costs associated with the tampering." She says that CenterPoint has not responded to a letter she sent on August 30.

Hair Balls gave CenterPoint Energy an opportunity to deny these allegations, but a corporate representative would not comment on this or similar complaints from CenterPoint customers.

Adds Launey, "I also feel very displeased that the evidence of lowered energy usage, which [the inspector] speculates is the date of the 'tampering,' happened after I had installed a new energy-efficient air conditioning system and installed new attic insulation, two things which I purchased in an effort to lower my energy usage and costs."

By the way, if you're hankering to read another customer service nightmare, check out this crazy talk provided by Comcast.


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6 comments
four_strings
four_strings

If CenterPoint changed the meter of their own accord, independent of the customer (as she stated in the interview) than CenterPoint has no legal right to charge for the service. It is "unauthorized work" and an "unauthorized charge". I'm pretty sure that it would stand up in court if it were challenged. No other vendor can extract unauthorized charges on your credit card or bank account. CenterPoint should be no different. If Forever 21 can't run up charges on your card for things you didn't buy, then neither can CenterPoint. It's a matter of standing up to this company and taking legal action if necessary. More often than not, it takes little more than a scary letter (aka "nastygram") from an attorney to make people or businesses back off. If the gas company understands that you are ready, willing, and able to take legal action they will likely settle down and stop trying to get away with extortion. I've read countless complaints against CenterPoint onilne. It may be time for folks to band together and write up a class-action law suit against this company. Clearly, they are overtly inflicting the abuse of a monopoly on their prey (oops, I mean "customers").

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

My centerpoint gas bill jumped from $19 to $65 this month FOR NO REASON AT ALL.

Jim C
Jim C

It seems like whenever someone uses the term "smart" to try to sell something, it's usually something really stupid.  Re: Phone, Smart.

David
David

Centerpoint does not provide electricity, Centerpoint provides the infrastructure including the meters.  This is total bs. She needs to get an attorney, get with her neighbors who have had smart meters installed and file a class action lawsuit.

furioso ateo
furioso ateo

No reason she can't switch as well as call CenterPoint on their bullshit, provided she's telling the truth. And anyway, switching companies wouldn't make that bill disappear. A smart competitor would come calling and offer to pay that bill for her if she switched over to them.

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