Skip to main content
Publish date:

CenterPoint's $47M refund errors saw thousands hit with late fees, bank charges

The gas and electricity provider blundered when trying to refund customers who were overcharged.
Author:

Thousands of CenterPoint customers in Minnesota were hit with late fees and bank charges because the utility made errors as it processed $47 million in refunds.

The gas and electricity provider appeared before the Public Utilities Commission on Thursday to request approval to refund interest incorrectly charged to customers.

The problems started in mid-November, when CenterPoint processed $47 million in refunds to customers after the utility imposed an interim 5.4 percent rate hike last year, only for the PUC to approve a much smaller final rate.

This required CenterPoint to pay back the difference it had charged customers, and it was revealed during Thursday's hearing that this averaged out to about $37 per customer.

But as it pushed out the refunds, CenterPoint miscalculated the sales tax, which in turn saw the company reverse the refunds on Dec. 4 so it could issue the correct amounts.

"[CenterPoint] encountered errors that delayed the reversal process and in some instances the corrected interim rate refund credits were not applied to customer accounts until December 7," the PUC document says.

This three-day delay resulted in 15,991 CenterPoint customers being hit with late fees totaling $25,000, while 57 checks totaling $570 bounced.

Follow Bring Me The News on LinkedIn

What's more, a number of customers who have their bills taken directly from their bank accounts found themselves short due to the delay of the refund, and were hit with charges for having insufficient funds.

CenterPoint is going to credit $570,648 of interest to customers who incurred early bank drafts, while a further $174,710 of interest is owed to customers due to the delays in the rate refund.

The PUC unanimously approved the repayments on Thursday, and chastised CenterPoint for its slow reaction to the system problems.

It has demanded that any similar issues that arise over the next three years will require the PUC be informed within 4 hours of it happening.

Next Up

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Concern for DE Griffen after troubling late-night Instagram posts

The 33-year-old said people were trying to kill him in his home, and that he needed help.

The search involved several local public safety agencies, including a State Patrol helicopter unit and a K9 team.

Woman, 22, dies in crash just outside Brainerd

Another woman was injured in the collision.

Bloomington PD person interest dog abuse 11.24.21

Dog found shot and run over, police searching for person of interest

The police department released photos of a possible suspect.

unsplash football helmet ground

Parents of star QB suspended for state final file lawsuit to let him play

He was automatically suspended after receiving two unsportsmanlike conduct calls in the semifinal.

Christopher Endicott

Former Lakeville principal dies in Crow Wing County jail

The 53-year-old was pronounced dead after lifesaving measures were attempted.

2021_0930_Practices_0036

Vikings place Dalvin Tomlinson on COVID-19/reserve list

The defensive line takes another blow ahead of Sunday's game with the 49ers.

Related

Proposed Centerpoint price hike would increase gas bills by 8.7%

The utility says the extra money would be used to invest in its pipeline system.

thermostat

Centerpoint says February gas crisis will cost MN customers extra $354

There was extreme demand for gas due to historic cold in the central United States.

CenterPoint customers in Paynesville were without gas overnight

A construction worker hit a gas line, cutting the city's supply.

CenterPoint wants to offer 'renewable' gas in MN, but what is it?

The utility argues it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

T-Mobile customers to get refund checks over unwanted charges

The carrier has been ordered to refund customers over "mobile cramming."

thermostat

Historic cold in south could add 'up to $400' to Minnesotans' gas bills

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has launched an investigation into the gas spike.

Wells Fargo refunding $98M for charges that were mainly its fault

It impacts mortgage customers who were charged fees for delays they weren't responsible for.

Nearly half of Centerpoint Energy's Minn. customers to get refund credits

About 46 percent of CenterPoint Energy's Minnesota customers who were pushed into a higher pricing tier during a controversial pilot program will start seeing refund credits on their bills Monday. The refunds are the result of a complaint filed by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson that claimed unfair pricing.