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I just paid my bill. When will my power be reconnected?
As soon as your payment is received and/or reported to Direct Energy, we send the Reconnection order to the Transmission and Distribution Service Provider (TDSP, also known as your utility company) for your area. If you have a traditional analog meter, please be advised that it can take hours for your power to be reconnected, depending upon the workload of the TDSP technicians. If you have a digital Smart Meter, it can take only a few hours for your power to be reconnected, but it still does depend upon the workload of the TDSP technicians. If there are complications such as lack of signal to your meter, it could take hours to reconnect power.
You can call the TDSP for your area to obtain an estimated time frame in which your power will be reconnected. This information can be found on your Direct Energy bill and is provided below by area.
Houston and Surrounding Area
Dallas/Fort Worth and Surrounding Areas
Fake CenterPoint reps threaten to cut off power, direct victims to automated operator
That was the warning some small businesses in Houston were met with during phone calls Monday morning.
The calls came as supposed courtesies, giving the businesses a number to reach an automated payment line.
Just one catch, though. The callers claimed to be CenterPoint Energy representatives, but that was not true.
"If I had been in a panic, or if I had been maybe less experienced, I might have (made the payment)," bookkeeper Tobi Gourley said.
Gourley works at Galson Auto and got a call from someone posing as a CenterPoint representative. They were threatening to turn off service at the shop in just a matter of minutes if she didn't make a payment.
"It's always possible that you've made an error. At first, I was concerned about it, because I don't want to let my employer down," she said.
Across town, the same thing was happening to Ray Moon at his Beechnut Auto shop.
"I said, 'How much do you think I owe you? Oh, it's about $1, and some odd dollars.' I need to pay that in the next 30 minutes or they're going to turn off my electricity," Moon said.
It was the same high-pressure tactic: pay now or service would be cut off. In both these cases, the caller didn't have basic account information so the businesses were not fooled.
"I said, 'What account number are we talking about?' and he said, 'You're account is blocked," Gourley said. "He was really aggressive and that's when I said. 'Oh, this is fake.' And I just hung up."
The payment phone number given to the businesses led to an automated system that seemed capable of accepting payments but not transferring callers to a real person.
ABC13 was contacted by a few other businesses saying the same trick was tried on them. CenterPoint warns caller IDs can be tricked, so if a customer has doubts about a suspicious call, they should simply hang up and call the number printed on the actual bill.
"Of course, I'm wanting to catch the bad guys and I'm also wanting people to be warned that this is out there," Gourley said.
"Hopefully, karma comes back and gets them," Moon said.
Follow Steven Romo on Twitter and Facebook.
Centerpoint Energy Plaza, CenterPoint Energy headquarters in Downtown Houston.
|Headquarters||CenterPoint Energy Tower|
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|David J. Lesar, CEO & President ()|
|Revenue||US$ billion (Fiscal Year Ended December 31, )|
|US$ billion (Fiscal Year Ended December 31, )|
|-US$ million (Fiscal Year Ended December 31, )|
|Total assets||US$ billion (Fiscal Year Ended December 31, )|
|Total equity||US$ billion (Fiscal Year Ended December 31, )|
Number of employees
CenterPoint Energy, Inc. is an American Fortune electric and natural gas utility serving several markets in the American states of Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. It was formerly known as Reliant Energy (from which it is now separated), NorAm Energy, Houston Industries, and HL&P. The company is headquartered in the CenterPoint Energy Tower at Louisiana Street in Downtown Houston. Some of its notable subscribers include Retail Electric Providers (REPs), such as NRG Energy, Champion Energy, Eligo Energy, Dynowatt, Ambit Energy, Texas Power, Bounce Energy, MXenergy, Direct Energy, Stream Energy, First Texas Energy Corporation, Gexa Energy, Cirro Energy, and Kona Energy.
When the state of Texas deregulated the electricity market, the former Houston Lighting & Power (HL&P) was split into several companies. In HL&P was split into Reliant Energy, Texas Genco, and CenterPoint Energy.
Until December 15, , CenterPoint Energy and its predecessors operated in its various markets under these names; they were used separately prior to Reliant Energy, and later in conjunction with the Reliant Energy and CenterPoint Energy names:
- Minnegasco (natural gas throughout Minnesota)
- Houston Lighting and Power (or HL&P) Houston-Galveston electric provider
- Entex (Natural gas throughout South and East Texas, Southern Louisiana and Mississippi)
- Arkla (Natural gas throughout Northern Louisiana, Northeast Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas)
In late , four private equity firms—the Texas Pacific Group, the Blackstone Group, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Hellman & Friedman—combined forces to purchase Texas Genco from Centerpoint. Later in , Texas Genco was sold to NRG Energy of Princeton, N.J.
On April 23, CenterPoint Energy and Vectren Corporation announced they have entered into a definitive merger agreement.
- September power outage
Hurricane Ike caused great disruption of service in the Greater Houston Area, wiping out million of CenterPoint Energy's million clients' electricity. This was the largest power outage in the company's year history, and the largest in the state's history.
- Smart meter pilot program
In March , the company’s five-year smart meter deployment began, delivering enhanced smart meter functionality to Retail Electric Providers (REPs). The company worked with the Department of Energy for a pilot program in Texas centered on energy consumption. After working with residential electricity customers in the Houston area, it was found that by using a smart meter, consumers cut down on energy use for the home. The pilot program was funded in part by the $ million it received from the federal stimulus act.
In , CenterPoint Energy and Ford Motor Company formed a partnership to promote adoption of electric vehicles. The two companies teamed up to work together to create electric vehicle consumer outreach and education programs; they also distributed details to various stakeholders about charging needs and the requirements needed to "ensure the electrical infrastructure can support the necessary demand." Additionally: "The Ford and CenterPoint Energy collaboration also includes developing strategies to minimize the emissions and distribution impacts of charging electric vehicles by using statewide system renewable energy resources and more efficient use of household electricity."
Texas power outages
Main article: February 13–17, North American winter storm
At a.m. on February 15, , due to a major cold-weather event affecting the state of Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) declared a statewide power generation shortfall emergency, due to a 34, MW shortfall in generation causing widespread blackouts. At a.m., CenterPoint Energy started controlled, rotating outages in the Greater Houston area. At first, the company said that the outages are expected to last 10 to 45 minutes, but soon updated its statement that customers who are experiencing an outage should be prepared to be without power for the rest of Monday. The company also told its customers to temporarily lower their thermostat settings to help conserve natural gas across its eight state service territory.
Overnight on Tuesday morning, CenterPoint Energy was able to restart the process of rolling the outages around, but had to stop at around 4 a.m. due to another ERCOT order because several third-party electric generators tripped offline. However, it was able to restart the process around p.m. the same day. Later that evening, CenterPoint Energy stated online that it was given another ERCOT order to reduce electric load and warned customers to make preparations for additional outages.
In Wednesday evening, CenterPoint Energy told its customers to conserve both power and natural gas starting at 6 p.m. CDT until midnight, as it was preparing to re-energize portions of the electric system.  In the early hours of Thursday, the company restored electric service to approximately million customers, while less than customers were about to be restored. Later at around Friday morning, ERCOT ended emergency conditions, saying there is enough generation to go to normal operations.
On December 16, , CenterPoint Energy Inc. said it would restate its finances for and the first three quarters of to correct accounting errors that overstated revenue and natural gas expenses.
In December , the non-partisan organization Public Campaign criticized CenterPoint Energy for spending $ million on lobbying and not paying any taxes during , instead getting $ million in tax rebates, despite making a profit of $ billion, and having an executive pay between $12 and $13 million for its top 5 executives.
- ^ abcde"CenterPoint Energy Annual Report Results".
- ^"CenterPoint Energy Form K Annual Report". mynewextsetup.us. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. February 22,
- ^"Contact Information." CenterPoint Energy. Retrieved on January 14,
- ^"CenterPoint Energy Tower." Berger Iron Works. Retrieved on January 14,
- ^"Exelon bids for major Texas power producer NRG." Houston Chronicle. October 20, Retrieved on April 14, "The plants were originally part of the former Houston Lighting & Power, the integrated utility that served the Houston area until it was broken up into three separate companies as the state deregulated its power markets."
- ^Fowler, Tom. "8 Houston power plants to be sold to NRG." Houston Chronicle. October 2, Retrieved on April 14,
- ^"Special Message - Vectren and CenterPoint Energy announce merger of companies". mynewextsetup.us. Retrieved
- ^ abcCNET. "Texans take a shine to in-home energy displays."
- ^"Ford, CenterPoint Energy team up to prepare Houston for electric vehicles". mynewextsetup.us. Retrieved
- ^"Prepare to be without power", CenterPoint Energy says". mynewextsetup.us. Retrieved
- ^"CenterPoint Energy outage tracker crashes as thousands have no power"". CultureMap Houston. Retrieved
- ^"CenterPoint Energy ask customers to lower thermostats"". Newsbreak. Retrieved
- ^"CenterPoint cannot warn when power may be shut off, but says to expect outages into weekend Zach Despart". Houston Chronicle.
- ^"ERCOT will end emergency conditions today"". mynewextsetup.us. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Retrieved
- ^"CenterPoint Energy to Restate Finances".
- ^Portero, Ashley. "30 Major U.S. Corporations Paid More to Lobby Congress Than Income Taxes, ". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 7 January Retrieved 26 December
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CenterPoint Energy Customers
Customers receiving Energy Assistance through the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be eligible to receive additional funds through the Gas Affordability Program (GAP), offered by CenterPoint Energy in partnership with the Energy CENTS Coalition.
How GAP works:
- GAP helps customers better manage monthly energy costs. Once enrolled in GAP, customers are given a flat monthly amount for their natural gas bill.
- There is a cap on how much customers have to pay each month. Monthly natural gas payment will not exceed 6 percent of income.
- GAP can help customers pay past due balances. Customers who have a past due balance, but make monthly GAP payments, will receive funds to help pay off past-due balance and be protected from natural gas service shut-off.
To participate in the Gas Affordability program, certain program rules apply:
- You must pay your monthly CenterPoint Energy bill on time. If you fall behind on your payments, you will be removed from the program and ineligible to reapply until the next calendar year. You may be subject to service disconnection, as well.
- You must receive Energy Assistance program funds for the current heating season.
To apply for the program, you must submit an application to the Energy CENTS Coalition. Click Here to download the application, or call our office at to have an application mailed to you.
Enrollment is offered on a first-come first-served basis. Program funding is limited.