CenterPoint Energy accreditation revoked after consumer complaints, Better Business Bureau says

ByShannon Ryan KTRK logo
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
CenterPoint Energy loses accreditation after complaints, BBB says
CenterPoint Energy claims it cut ties with the Better Business Bureau before losing its accreditation, which data shows is due to consumer complaints.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Following mounting consumer complaints, the Better Business Bureau of Houston and South Texas has revoked accreditation for CenterPoint Energy. However, the natural gas and electricity company said that it severed ties with the non-profit membership association first.

Better Business Bureau data shows the Houston and South Texas chapter received 71 complaints about the company in 2020, 112 in 2021, and 152 in 2022. Complaints included trouble with billing and the website, difficulty obtaining assistance, long hold times and wrong transfers, no-show appointments, and actual service issues such as power outages.

RELATED: 'Nobody showed up': Neighbors say CenterPoint Energy delays gas leak work for days in The Woodlands

Homeowners in a neighborhood in The Woodlands say it took far too long for Center Point Energy to take action after a gas leak was discovered near a school bus stop.

Dan Parsons, the president of BBB Houston and South Texas, said the non-profit membership association filed a formal motion of revocation in 2022. CenterPoint appealed.

Conversations continued throughout the year but came to a halt in December 2022 when the BBB requested an "Updated Standard Business Questionnaire" from CenterPoint.

The information from the questionnaire is used to calculate dues paid to the BBB.

"Theirs were way low. They hadn't been looked at in years," Parsons explained.

Parsons said businesses are required to fill out the form each year. Parsons said he did not know why the company had not been filling out the form.

ABC13 asked Parsons if it was due to "oversight or negligence on (the BBB's) part?" He said, "I think it could be both. I don't know."

He said information regarding revenue and employees gathered through the survey is factored into the BBB's rating formula.

RELATED: Thousands of Houston-area CenterPoint Energy customers without power during storms

"It only came to our attention, 'Hey, we may have to do something that may affect your rating. So we've gotta know your size. Your real size,'" Parsons said.

In a bulletin, the BBB states that it followed up with CenterPoint twice during the month of December, requesting the survey.

CenterPoint declined an interview with Eyewitness News, but it provided a written statement reading in part:

"Although we decided as a company to end our affiliation with the BBB of Greater Houston and South Texas in 2022, we appreciate the BBB and the services it provides to small businesses."

"You don't respond. You abdicate," Parsons explained. "(CenterPoint) may have 'quit,' but they never said so."

Anecdotally, Parsons said he feels more companies are losing accreditation post-pandemic as they struggle to maintain their footing in a shifty economy.

"Supply chain issues, financial issues, labor issues," he said. In 2022 CenterPoint Energy lost its accreditation.

In their statement, CenterPoint boasted that the "company is in good standing with the BBB in several other locations where we do business." Parsons said he was looking into the matter Tuesday.

Editor's note: This story was first reported by ABC13's partners at the Houston Chronicle.