Resolved Centerpoint Energy — faulty meter and connections, overcharging
I would greatly appreciate any information concerning a class action suit pertaining to Centerpoint Energy and the company's pricing and operation conflicts with consumers.
I have had an ongoing problem with Centerpoint Energy in Texas concerning my faulty meter and connections, not having my meter tested or calibrated in as many as 28 years despite being told by that it had been tested and found accurate upon enrolling with 2 different energy companies, and my energy bills more than doubling from a range of $35 - $100 monthly to $180 - $320 monthly in a 1 month period for a 792 square foot condominium. I had an independent electrician check my the balance of my home's electrical load from my fuse box and found it to be balanced within 2 amps of each phase and concluded that I have either a faulty meter and/or faulty main connections of my meter. I am now without power and have outstanding balances due to 2 energy companies while attempting to resolve this. I filed a complaint with the Public Utility Commission of Texas who found no fault of Centerpoint Energy. I have exhausted all options except legal or a class action suit.
Here is the formal complaint I have filed with the Better Business Bureau, The Public Utility Commission of Texas, and other organizations.
In June 2004, I enrolled for services from Reliant Energy. Upon enrolling, I was told by Reliant that my meter was tested and reading accurately. After one year, I decided to switch to services offered by Direct Energy for their better rate costs. When I enrolled with Direct, I was told that my meter was tested and was still reading accurately. For my 792 square foot home, my monthly bill amounts have ranged from approximately: $100 in the summer of 2005 to $35 in fall of 2005 increasing to $150 in the summer of 2006 to $70 in fall of 2006 increasing to $180 in the summer of 2007 to $95 in the fall of 2007, cost per kilowatt and varying weather notwithstanding. In September of 2007, I had repairs done to my air conditioning and heating unit to improve their efficiency and lower my consumption. Since then, my monthly consumption charges have ranged from $180 to $320. My electricity usage has not increased in these months and has in fact decreased due to my not being present at my residence for at least 3 days per week due to my current work schedule. I called Direct Energy regarding these increases on March 12, 2008 and requested a meter test. I was referred to CenterPoint Energy who conducts meter tests on behalf of Direct. I spoke to a helpful CenterPoint representative named Gabrielle who informed me that although I was told by both Reliant and Direct Energy that my meter was tested upon enrolling for their services, according to Texas utility records my meter had not been tested since 1986. She then told me that my meter would be tested within 15 days and I would be called as soon as the results were available. She also informed me that if there was a discrepancy in my meter reading then I would be reimbursed by Direct Energy for previous charges. Fifteen days later on March 26th, I called CenterPoint to check the status of the meter test since I had not yet received a call. I was able to reach Gabrielle again and was told that my meter was tested on March 14th and read accurately. She then told me that the meter had not been tested since January of 1980, not 1986 as I was originally informed. On April 23rd, 2008 I was without electricity as it was disconnected the week of March 10th. I chose not to pay any further bills to Direct Energy until I had this matter looked into. I then received a monthly bill from Direct for consumption charges of $68.27 from March 6th through the day of disconnection (5 days). Fifteen of these days were without any electricity usage whatsoever. My overall bill accumulated to $1, 244.94 as of April 23rd after paying Direct amounts up to $500 in recent months to prevent disconnection. I enrolled with National Power Company on April 28th, after which my energy provider was deferred to Amigo Energy upon National Power Company’s going out of business. I accumulated a bill of $858.87 in a 4 month period with very little use of electricity as I chose to stay with friends and relatives to minimize my energy consumption.
On October 17th, 2008 I hired an electrician from On Time Electric and Air Services to assess my meter operation and check the electrical load to my home from the fuse box of my residence. He found the load to be balanced within 2 amps of each phase (A Phase reading approximately 2.8 amps, B Phase reading approximately 3.7 - 3.8 amps) with all appliances on and air conditioner off. His conclusion was the meter and its main connections were probably faulty, as the bill amount did not reflect my energy usage or the balanced electrical load of my fuse box.
On the week of November 15th, 2008 my energy was disconnected due to the outstanding balance of $858.87 that accumulated during my effort to have my meter either calibrated or replaced. This is in addition to the $1, 244.94 balance due to Direct Energy. On November 25th I spoke to Centerpoint Energy about this issue which was forwarded to their revenue department for further consideration.
I would like my meter to be replaced after it has been analyzed for discrepancy and would like my balances due to be adjusted according to the difference of consumption reading on my faulty meter and connections and, if applicable, reimbursed for my over payments to Direct Energy dating back to summer of 2007 when my energy charges took a substantial rise.
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