HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Following growing consumer complaints, the Better Business Bureau of Houston and South Texas has revoked the accreditation for CenterPoint Energy. However, the natural gas and electricity company said it had first severed ties with the non-profit.
Data from the Better Business Bureau shows the Houston and South Texas chapter received 71 complaints about the company in 2020, 112 in 2021, and 152 in 2022. Complaints included issues with billing and the website, trouble getting assistance, long wait times and incorrect transfers, no-show appointments and actual service issues such as power outages.
Dan Parsons, president of BBB Houston and South Texas, said the nonprofit membership association filed a formal motion to dismiss in 2022. CenterPoint has filed an appeal.
The conversations continued throughout the year, but stopped in December 2022 when the BBB requested an “Updated Standard Company Questionnaire” from CenterPoint.
Information from the questionnaire is used to calculate the fees paid to the BBB.
“Theirs were very low. They hadn’t been looked at in years,” Parsons explained.
Parsons said companies are required to fill out the form every year. Parsons said he didn’t know why the company hadn’t filled out the form.
ABC13 asked Parsons if it was due to “oversight or negligence on (the BBB) part?” He said, “I think it could be both. I don’t know.”
He said the revenue and employee information gathered through the survey is factored into the BBB’s rating formula.
“It just came to our attention, ‘Hey, we might have to do something that might affect your rating. So we need to know your size. Your actual size,'” Parsons said.
In a bulletin, the BBB says it followed up with Reliant twice during the month of December, requesting the survey.
CenterPoint declined an interview with Eyewitness News, but provided a written statement that reads in part:
“Although we have made the decision as a company to terminate our affiliation with the BBB of Greater Houston and South Texas in 2022, we value the BBB and the services it provides to small businesses.”
“You don’t answer. You abdicate,” Parsons explained. “(CenterPoint) may have ‘stopped’, but they never said so.”
Anecdotally, Parsons said he believes more companies are losing accreditation after the pandemic as they struggle to maintain their footing in a volatile economy.
“Supply chain issues, financial issues, employment issues,” he said. In 2022 Reliant Energy lost its accreditation.
In their statement, CenterPoint boasted that “the company is in compliance with the BBB in many other locations where we operate.” Parsons said he was looking into the matter on Tuesday.