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."
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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.