Skip to main content

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.

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

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 8.25.27 PM

Pilot, brother and sister killed when plane crashed into house are ID'd

The plane crashed into a house in Hermantown, Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 7.18.52 PM

Rolled semi, livestock on freeway interchange in Woodbury

Traffic cameras showed what appeared to be hogs on the side of the road.

Eric Reinbold

Reinbold guilty of murdering wife with 'particular cruelty'

Eric Reinbold, 46, was convicted of two counts of murder in the second degree in Pennington County Friday.

police tape

Armed assault suspect arrested after standoff in Waite Park

The standoff ended early Saturday when officer obtained a warrant for the home.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 9.06.25 AM

3 dead after plane crashes into house in Hermantown

Two people in the house were uninjured.

FeDh7pUWAAg3NMd

Destructive fire at Maple Grove greenhouse and nursery

The fire burned early Sunday morning at a longtime Maple Grove greenhouse and nursery.

st. cloud state university hockey

SCSU player hospitalized after being taken off ice on stretcher

Luedtke was checked into the boards in the first period and down for a reported 10-15 minutes.

Amber alert wisconsin

Amber Alert for Kryssy King canceled, suspect still at large

Police beleived 15-year-old Kryssy King was with a 22-year-old man who remains wanted.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 10.18.12 AM

3 St. Paul fast food restaurants robbed in space of an hour

The thieves struck between 7:15 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.06.40 AM

What to do with the Kmart site? Minneapolis wants your ideas

The project will connect Nicollet Avenue south of Lake street and north of the Midtown Greenway, reestablishing a street grid.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 7.53.55 AM

Crowd evacuated at end of homecoming football game in Brooklyn Park

Police blamed 'unruly teens' in the stands and some who were trying to enter the stadium.

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.

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.

T-Mobile customers to get refund checks over unwanted charges

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

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.