According to a lawsuit filed on May 17, 2011, CenterPoint Energy has overbilled Houston for the past twenty years. Noting a similar lawsuit settled by New Orleans for $12 million, City Attorney, David Feldman, said the claim could be for “tens of millions of dollars.” CenterPoint distributes electricity to Houston residents regardless of which provider actually sells the electricity. CenterPoint is also the entity that installs, owns and maintains streetlights in Houston. Houston pays CenterPoint monthly charges based on the amount of illuminations it expects to receive from the streetlights.
According to the lawsuit, CenterPoint has not kept an accurate inventory of the working lights and has failed to maintain them to ensure that Houston is receiving the promised, and paid for, illumination. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that CenterPoint has failed to replace light bulbs in a timely manner. According to CenterPoint’s spokesman, the company is not aware of any complaints about the issue; however, this is akin to arguing that nobody has complained about an undiscovered theft. In any event, there is now a complaint and a full-fledged lawsuit filed by Houston seeking millions of dollars.