CenterPoint Energy — natural gas service in houston tx
My tenants called me yesterday and said that something was wrong with the gas at one of my properties in Houston... a 4plex from the 1920s.
I've had gas turned on at that address in my name with Centertpoint--the gas monopoly in that area--for over twenty years.
I sent my maintenance person out to see if he could figure out the problem but--aside from the fact that none of the gas appliances were getting any gas--she could not find anything that could be causing that. So, we called Centerpoint to have them send someone out to find the problem.
Well, it turns out that--a coupld of day ago--some complete stranger was walking down the street near my building, thought she smelled gas as she was walking down the sidewalk--called 311 (I guess), they transferred her to Centerpoint, she gave them my address as the closest address she could find--they sent someone out to that address--without contacting me--the account holder--whose information they have on file--and since no one was home exactly at that random time when they happened to show up--without notice--they simply shut the gas off to the building and left.
They claim that they left a door hanger somewhere on the property notifying the occupants what had happened and who to call to get the gas back on--but we never saw anything.
I spent an hour on the phone with various Centerpoint "customer service" personnel this morning trying to get some answers as to how a complete stranger walking down the street has the power to have the gas turned off at my property--without notice and without contact from Centerpoint--but they could not give me any good reason. They just kept droning on about how "in an emergency situation like this"--yada yada yada.
I asked if--when their technician was out there--he found a gas leak--either inside my property or outside my property. "No." They answered. He did not. Even though he disconnected all three meters from my buiding and tested all three gas lines inside the building.
"So if there was NO gas leak found--how is this an "emergency situation"?"
"Well, that's just our policy and our procedure. If someone calls in and says they smell gas, we have to treat is as an emergency."
"Ok. So when you determined that there was NO gas leak at / in my property--thus there was NO emergency--why did you turn the gas off and just leave? Why didn't someone CALL ME--the property owner-the account holder--to let me know?"
"That's just our policy. If no one is home we can't turn the gas back on. And we don't call anyone. We just leave a note on the door."
So... because of their [censor] policies and procedures--a complete stranger walking down the street was able to have the gas turned off to my building for two or three days--and cost me at least a half day of work dealing with it--and having to having to pay my maintenance staff to respond, try to figure out the problem and resolve it--and then waiting around for hours for Centerpoint to show up (they give you an eight hour window!).
What a joke.
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