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Power company mixup proves costly for woman

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Baytown woman with high power bills is getting some relief after convincing her power provider that her home is not a business. It may sound simple, but the error ended up costing her hundreds of dollars more per month.

The difference between a commercial power rate and a residential power rate can be quite steep, as that Baytown woman found out when her home electricity meter was mistakenly listed as belonging to a business.

This house on Gulls Cut may not be a mansion, but it is not a business either.

"It's not, it's residential. I live here," Chelsea Kemp said.

But Kemp says her home was listed as a business by CenterPoint Energy, and that meant her power provider, Stream Energy, charged Kemp the commercial rate for power rather than the cheaper residential rate.

So Kemp called Stream Energy and was told to contact CenterPoint.

"They changed it, and they even told me they sent an email to Stream," she said.

Kemp said the problem lasted for four months, and during that time she kept paying the higher bills. Kemp says she thought a refund would come her way after the confusion was corrected.

"After it was all said and done, they told me they could not do it," she said.

Frustrated, Kemp says she switched away from Stream still owing $122 and still expecting a refund.

"I don't know what to do, I have been fighting with these people and it's not right," she said.

After we called Stream, officials looked into the account and then told us they would waive that $122 outstanding bill and issue Kemp a refund of $120 for the overcharges wracked up during the time the residential account was billed as a commercial one.

Officials with CenterPoint tell us the home may have at one time been a business and that may have caused the initial confusion.
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