It Just Gets Better: Houston Utility Sends Out $200K Bills

CenterPoint Energy says power outage caused a computer problem
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2021 7:00 PM CST
Updated Feb 19, 2021 5:59 AM CST
It Just Gets Better: Houston Utility Sends Out $200K Bills
People line up to fill containers of various sizes from a spigot Thursday at Haden Park in Houston.   (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

By this point, at least 27,000 Houston natural gas customers must wonder if they're the butt of a cosmic joke. They received email notifications Thursday that their CenterPoint Energy bill was ready, and that it was $202,102.16. So not only are people trying to survive without heat during the ongoing power outage, they're being billed six figures for the heat they don't have. The utility said the power outage caused a computer problem and assured everyone that the bills were a mistake, KPRC reports. "Customers do not owe this amount, and it will not be drafted from their account," CenterPoint said in an apologetic statement.

The email gave customers till March 4 to come up with the money, per KHOU. A corrected email will go out tomorrow, the company said, and CenterPoint told them they'd see the correct amount if they logged into their account. One customer posted the bill online and tweeted, "Yes, I think I do have some questions about my bill, CenterPoint." Everything isn't going wrong for the utility; CenterPoint reported that more than 98% of its customers had their service restored as of Thursday, per the Chronicle. (More power outages stories.)

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