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Dear Centerpoint Energy, Please Raise My Bill Even More

September 26th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Green Houston Topics

I posted this on another website that I frequently write on and wanted to share it here also.


Hurricane Ike was only a Category 2 Storm.  Yes it caused a lot of damage, I’m not downplaying that.  But it could have been a lot worse.  To date there are still nearly 500,000 people without power in the Houston area, a full 2 Weeks after the Storm.

On top of that Centerpoint Energy, the company that owns and maintains a Majority of the Lines in and around Houston announced that they were going to charge Homeowners, Renters, anyone who has Electricity $3.50 per 1,000 kwh a month to repair what was broken.

That is not bad.  I will not feel that $3.50 a month as most Homeowners won’t.  BUT that is for 15 years! Let that soak in for a minute.  15 Years.  It was just 3 years ago that we had this SAME problem with Hurricane Rita that was not even as Big of a Storm as Ike was.  So what happens when another storm rolls through? What then?

I think this is absurd.  Why?  Why are we going to pay to repair and have MORE overhead power lines surrounded by trees that fall in the wind and storms, get struck by lightning and take Power Lines down with them. WE ARE IN A HURRICANE PRONE AREA!

Here is the Math behind the Rate Hike:

Everyone pays a MINIMUM of $3.50 a month

Atleast 2.58 Million Customers affected according to recent numbers released in the media

Equals a MINIMUM of atleast $9,030,000 each month

Which over 15 years Equals, well, too much money

So here is my request to Centerpoint Energy.  I think it makes sense.

Dear Centerpoint Energy,  please- instead of adding a measley $3.50 per 1,000 kwh used to my bill every month please add $10.  Heck, make it $20! But here is what I ask that you do with it.

Go ahead and repair what is broken.  However please do not build more poor infrastructure that is so incredibly susceptible to Hurricane and Tropical Storm weather.  Instead offer incentives for Homeowners to go Solar.  A simple 2kw system on a Rooftop would run almost everything in an average home.  It would run a Refrigerator, Fans, Lights, Television….everything but your HVAC system.  Oh, WOW!  That is what people are paying $50-$60 a day right now to run on a Generator!?! By the time you pay $500 for a generator, add $60 a day for gas to run it Homeowners have incurred Well over $1,000 already because of our lines to be taken out.  The residents in and around Houston are the ones that pay you to be in business.  Without us, you would not exist.  Not that it is really relevant, just a reminder.

If you need more reasons why this should be a no brainer, here ya go:

  • Solar power is produced MOST when your Grid is the weakest.  Smack in the middle of the day.  That is when Houstonians crank down their A/C to stay cool, Refrigerators work harder to stay at temperature, etc.  You would likely not have to build MORE Grids.
  • From the looks of the media right now, your Customer Complaints are at an all time HIGH.  Just imagine what it would be like with a little Solar on every roof.  A whole heck of a lot less.
  • Solar Panels sustain Hurricane Force winds, unlike overhead power lines.
  • With Solar Thermal Hot Water we could still have Hot Water during outages.
  • I could even install a Solar Power HVAC system!
  • Rates are still going….UP Power is NOT getting CHEAPER- That means your costs also.

Why would we charge everyone, including renters, $10 a month per 1,000 kwh used?  Don’t.  Keep the hike at $3.50 for Renters and make it $10 a month for Homeowners.  You already ask whether or not people rent or own, right?  That’s reasonable.  Atleast in my mind.

My point is, Hurricane Ike could have been a Category 5 and it is likely that we would still have 1.5 million people without power right now.  How does atleast $9 Million a month justify putting us back in that same, highly vulnerable position?

Incentives for us to go Solar, this really should be a No Brainer.  Thanks.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • ken brand

    Thoughtful stuff. It really is an outrage.

  • Dan

    I’d like to add my own Dear CenterPoint Energy letter:

    Dear CenterPoint Energy,

    It’s time for your company to go through some serious restructuring including the analysis and changing of incentives currently being offered employees. Evidently they’re not being give the incentives they should be. Incentives are very powerful things in today’s market. Policies also need examination to the core to make certain customers are being treated right. I’m a customer, and I’m not being treated right. That means something is wrong with CenterPoint energy.

    My case in point –
    I moved into my first house August 2009. I did the best I could to request AUTO PAY (AKA ‘Automatic Bank Draft’) for all the utilities that serve my house). I had no trouble at all with my electricity provider (Green Mountain energy), ATT, Water, Septic, the Homeowner’s association, etc.
    The only utility that has given me difficulty has been CenterPoint Energy, and they’re STILL DOING IT!

    I don’t want to do business with CenterPoint Energy, but I need the gas to heat my house and water, so…

    Whatever silly little rules are getting in the way of me setting up Automatic Bank Draft should be eliminated. I’ve signed up. I’ve done the best I can to get the process happening. CenterPoint Energy has been uncommunicative. That is just not right. I’ve had to wait on hold just to ask why CenterPoint is treating me so poorly. Apparently, I didn’t do the special handshake at the exactly right time.
    I wish the standard employees of CenterPoint Energy well. It’s the policy-making suits I want to fire and deprive.
    Shame on those whose duty it is to see that customers are treated right. Those folks need to get straightened out.

    I get to wait ANOTHER WEEK for yet another form to show up for me to fill out, sign and MAIL back. I can’t FAX it. I can’t get it set up by phone. Oh no, that would be too easy and helpful.

    Oh, and thanks SO MUCH, CenterPoint, for inadvertently turning off my gas and causing me days of cold. I won’t forget that soon.

    Shame on CenterPoint.

    .-= Dan´s last blog ..Every day =-.

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