CenterPoint Customer Says Meter Never Read, Filed Complaint With RR Commission - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/29/05-Tyler

CenterPoint Customer Says Meter Never Read, Filed Complaint With RR Commission

The Texas Railroad Commission has received letters from Tyler citizens angry with CenterPoint for billing problems. Those letters were sent after the city of Tyler sued CenterPoint, claiming the company manipulated gas prices, cheating customers out of millions of dollars.

Ruby Babina is one of those customers. She said she pays her bills on time. So, when a CenterPoint Energy bill showed she was behind on at least three payments, it was news to her. Attached to all the bills she paid in person, Ruby had CenterPoint receipts with the date and amount.

"Come to find out they were holding it," Ruby said, "and then when all of this started they said, 'Oh, well it was a mistake.'"

Her bills have almost doubled each month since November. Something a 75-year-old who lives alone says just isn't right. Only a deer borne heater and a stove are powered by gas.

"My bill went from $16 and some cents and for the last few months they have doubled," she said. "The next month it was $26, and the next month it was $54 dollars and the next month it was $84."
Ruby said she asked CenterPoint to reread her meter.

"They refused. Told me that they weren't going to send anybody out that I needed to have my appliances checked."

So, Ruby took her complaint to the Texas Railroad Commission. She sent them her February bill for more than $200.

"Let us assure you," she read from a letter from the Commission, "your concerns are being reviewed and considered by the Commission."

"They contacted (CenterPoint) and told them they were compelled to send an individual out here in order to reread the meter."

What CenterPoint found Ruby said came as a surprise. "They sent a supervisor with this person and they saw where the numbers that they had were three or four times the amount that was actually on the meter."

When CenterPoint looked into that problem, that's when the company began said she was behind on her payments. Ruby said she will continue to work with the Texas Railroad Commission until someone can right what she said is wrong.

When KLTV 7 contacted CenterPoint Energy officials about Ruby's case, we were told no one was able to give us an answer that same day.

However, officials said they are looking in to whether someone was reading her meter.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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