CenterPoint: 16-day backlog for new service, disconnects


CenterPoint Energy meter readers, like Edward Payton, shown here in a 2007 Chron photo, have been called to other duties post-Ike. They may be back on that job by mid-October.

CenterPoint Energy says it has restored power to just about all Houstonians who saw it knocked out due to Hurricane Ike today, but there are likely thousands more remaining in the dark — namely those who had the misfortune to move into a new home or apartment sometime since the storm.
CenterPoint suspended all meter readings, hook-ups for new service, disconnects for move-outs and non-payments and other services on Sept. 12, just prior to Ike’s arrival. Since then the many field service workers have been focused on supporting the restoration efforts underway by the line workers and contract tree trimmers.
In a filing with the Public Utility Commission, CenterPoint said its backlog of such requests from retail electric providers (i.e. Reliant, TXU, Gexa, Green Mountain) will take about 16 days to work through. That process is expected to start in earnest on Monday. As of Thursday the queue was about 65,000-deep for move-ins, move-outs, reconnects for services that were disconnected for non-payment prior to the storm, and switches.
CenterPoint said it expects to resume meter reading on Oct. 13, which likely means customers will only have their usage estimated for one billing cycle, according to spokeswoman Alicia Dixon.