About Centerpoint Energy Electricity Service
What CenterPoint Energy Does for Texans
CenterPoint Energy is headquartered in Houston, Texas. It distributes and delivers electricity to an estimated 2.5 million customers in a 5,000 square mile area that includes the Houston area via it's Intelligent Grid. This grid design relies on smart meters and sensors to detect, locate, and report outages automatically. This allows the operators to isolate the problem area and reroute power around it, reducing the number of people affected and the duration of the outage. Using about 57,000 miles of transmission and distribution power lines, the company deliversapproximately 87 million megawatt hours of electricity to business and residential customers.
In 2018, CenterPoint Energy and Vectren Corporation announced they had entered into a definitive merger agreement to form an energy delivery, infrastructure, and services company. As a result, Vectren Energy became a subsidiary of CenterPoint Energy and now provides natural gas and/or electricity to customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.
How do I get the Cheapest CenterPoint Rate?
We work to guide customers to help them get the cheapest electricity rate. Or you can use our CenterPoint Energy Bill Calculator tool.
There are four basic steps:
- Understand your CenterPoint Service area usage
- Know your credit score
- Understand CenterPoint Energy (Local Utility) Fees
- Understand The EFL (Electricity Facts Label)
Centerpoint's Lowest Priced 12 Month Electricity Plans
Centerpoint's Lowest Priced 24 Month Electricity Plans
Centerpoint's Lowest Priced 36 Month Electricity Plans
Prepaid Plans for Centerpoint Energy Customers
CenterPoint Energy In The Houston Community
With a 150 year legacy of serving Houston, CenterPoint Energy has long been invested in supporting its educational, civic, social and environmental initiatives that enhance the city's quality of life. CenterPoint Energy's employees serve on more than 400 nonprofit boards and advisory committees and the company has sponsored a variety of charitable events throughout the Houston area, including:
- Sponsoring The 12th annual charity saltwater Fish Tournament which raised $76,000 for Kids Unlimited Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Texas Gulf Coast.
- In 2016, CenterPoint Energy joined the #GivingTuesday movement. Its employees and retirees, as well as their families contributed 237,500 hours in volunteer effort to their communities. The company also donated more than 2,000 grants to qualified nonprofit organizations.
- Hurricane Harvey recovery and relief efforts in 2017. Donations were divided into $250,000 gifts to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, the City of Houston Mayor's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, and the United Way of Greater Houston. The company also donated $300,000 to support its employees throughout its service area who were affected by the storm.
- In 2018, CenterPoint contributed more than $1.5 million to 88 United Way chapters across the entire service area, achieving a record employee participation rate of 77 percent.
- Beginning in 2019, CenterPoint will match personal contributions of a $50 minimum and up to $5,000 per employee each year through the Easy Match program.
- Each year, the company distributes 3,000 tree seedlings during the annual Houston Zoo Party for the planet on Earth Day.
CenterPoint Energy Street Lights
CenterPoint Energy owns, powers, and maintains more than 173,000 streetlights in Houston alone. Because streetlights are so important to public safety, you can report streetlight problems to CenterPoint Energy's streetlight online form. When you are contacted be sure to provide the 6 digit pole number or the nearest address where the light is located.
It's not surprising that streetlights use a lot of electricity. According to the City of Houston, the city typically installs 100-Watt High Pressure Sodium lights in residential areas and 250-Watt High Pressure Sodium lights along major thoroughfares. For that reason, the City of Houston along with CenterPoint are converting Houston's streetlights over to LED technology. Since LEDs are more energy efficient, it's estimated that Houston will save about 70 million kilowatt hours annually. That's enough to power 5,400 local homes for one year.
Important CenterPoint Energy Outage Information
Storm damage, equipment failure, and even simple accidents can knock out the power not just to your home but to your neighborhood and your entire community. Power outages are not only inconvenient to comfort but often crucial to safety. If the power goes off suddenly, the first thing a Texas electricity customer should do is to contact their local utility transmission/distribution utility (TDU). These companies are responsible for maintaining the poles, wire, and substations that deliver electricity to your home.
CenterPoint Energy Outage Tracking
Customers can track power outages at the CenterPoint Energy Tracker website. They can view areas that affect them and see detailed outage information from all over the CenterPoint Energy service territory.
CenterPoint Energy's outage map for its service area is very detailed, providing information on the number of people affected and an estimate on when power will be restored. Map data is transmitted from electrical equipment where the outage originates. For reasons of security and safety to homes and businesses, CenterPoint Energy does not supply specific addresses affected by a power outage.
CenterPoint Energy Utility Charges and Fees
How To Reduce CenterPoint Energy Electricity Delivery Charges
If you've heard that you can reduce your monthly CenterPoint Energy delivery charges, you need to pay attention to this important fact:
All residential electricity customers in the CenterPoint Energy service area pay the same distribution charge rates no matter where who their retail electric provider is.
Residential electricity customers generally do not use the same volume of electricity as businesses. Consequently, they don't need to worry about demand charges, demand ratchets, or time of use charges. However, business and commercial customers as well as places of worship do.
The only way for residential customers to reduce their monthly TDU charges per kWh is to reduce the amount of electricity that they use. Unfortunately, if you've signed up for a tiered rate plan that penalizes you for using less electricity, cutting your usage each month might cost you more.
The smart way to cut your monthly bill is to shop for a new Texas retail electricity provider offering plans and low rates that don't gouge you for using less energy. That's the best way to avoid paying high TDU charge!
Calculating CenterPoint Energy Distribution Charges
- At the 500 kWh level, CenterPoint Energy TDU charges = $0.05409 OR 5.409 cents per kWh.
- At the 1000 kWh usage level, CenterPoint Energy TDU charges = $0.045782 OR 4.45782 cents per kWh
- At the 2000 kWh usage level, CenterPoint Energy TDU charges = $0.043047 OR 4.3047 cents per kWh
At present, CenterPoint Energy distribution charges per month consist of $0.040312 per kWh used and a $5.47 customer charge. On typical Texas electricity EFLs, these charges are factored into the total price of electricity plans to calculate the average price. This is done by dividing the amount of the customer charge by the kWh usage amount and then adding that to CenterPoint Energy's price per kWh used amount.
The total average price amount is then added to the provider's energy charge.
That said, notice that as the usage level rises, the price per kWh for these CenterPoint Energy Distribution Charges decreases.
Here's what's happening: as the usage rises, the CenterPoint Energy charges are being divided by bigger and bigger usage amounts. As a result, the average price per kWh decreases even though the distribution charge rate ($0.040312 per kWh used and the $5.47 customer charge) doesn't change at all.
This also explains why the average price on retail providers' flat rate electricity plans appears to penalize low usage customers. The key point to remember for flat rate plans is that at the end of the month, the higher your electricity usage the higher your total bill.
View CenterPoint Energy Rate Fees
|Per kWh Rate
|Price at 500 kWh
|Price at 1000kWh
|Price at 2000 kWh
|CenterPoint Energy (Houston)
|TNMP (Fort Stockton)
Why Are CenterPoint Energy Charges So High?
As many CenterPoint Energy customers know, TDU charges alone can add 1/3 or more to your monthly bill because they depend on how much electricity you use to power your home. For example, total CenterPoint Energy charges per kWh add up to $0.040312 (or 4.0312 cents per kWh). If you use 1000 kWh per month, you'll be charged $43.12 to have that 1000 kWh delivered to your home. Add in CenterPoint Energy's customer charge of $5.47 and your total monthly delivery charge roughly comes to $48.59!
That doesn't even include ANY of the electricity you from your electricity retail provider!
While these charges aren't welcome expenses, remember that CenterPoint Energy is required by the State of Texas to reliably operate and maintain a distribution system supplying some 300 cities and towns with electricity and in some areas, natural gas as well.
Keeping their part of the ERCOT electric grid running smoothly to supply nearly 2.5 million people with reliable energy in all kinds of Texas weather is an intensive and expensive job.
Before CenterPoint Energy can change its rates, it must file a request with the Public Utility Commision of Texas. The PUC updates rates (also called "tariffs") twice a year. CenterPoint Energy and other TDUs can file rate change requests whenever they want but all such changes must be first reviewed and approved by the commission before they can go into effect.
CenterPoint Energy Rate Breakdown
Electricity customers in Texas pay separate charges for their electricity supply and the electricity's transmission and distribution. Transmission and distribution charges on your bill covers the cost of maintaining the poles and wires of the local grid to get your electricity to your home or business. Basically, TDSP or TDU charges are really transmission and distribution charges from your local utility.
On your bill, TDSP or TDU charges reflect two main charges:
- A fixed-rate customer charge. This charge is made up of the cost of maintaining an account with CenterPoint Energy and a metering charge measuring your usage.
- Transmission/distribution charges per kWh used during the month.
But while TDSP or TDU charges are usually somewhat explained on the monthly bill, many customers are often confused because providers "TDSP" and "TDU" sometimes use these terms interchangeably.
What do TDSP and TDU Mean?
The problem is that when deregulation started, "TDSP" and "TDU" were bandied about interchangeably by regulators, legislators, and providers to mean the same thing; local distribution charges. But there is actually a somewhat subtle difference.
"TDSP" or "Transmission/Distribution Service Provider" is mainly used by ERCOT. ERCOT runs the electricity markets plus takes care of the day to day BULK transmission/distribution operations on the Texas grid (those tall HIGH VOLTAGE, high tension power lines.) ERCOT works with transmission/distribution service providers (the companies that own and operate these big power lines) to send megawatts of electricity where it needs to go at the right time. According to ERCOT, "TDSPs own/operate, for compensation, the equipment/facilities to transmit and/or distribute electricity in Texas."
- Bulk transmission companies (high tension lines that move hundreds of megawatts across the state)
- Rural Electric Cooperatives (RECs)
- Municipal-Owned Utilities (MOUs)
- Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) that operate a Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU) in Texas.
"TDU" or "Transmission/Distribution Utility" is mainly used by the PUC of Texas. The PUCT regulates and approves transmission rates set by the different utilities such as MOUs and IOUs that deliver electricity locally to homes and businesses. According to PUCT, a TDU is the local utility company (which includes the monopoly IOU companies) that handles the local transmission and distribution to local customers within its service territory. In short, TDUs handle the local distribution to home and business users, track usage, and bill everyone equally to help maintain the equipment.
- CenterPoint Energy
- Oncor Energy
- AEP (North and Central)
- Sharyland Utilities
One way to think of this whole transmission/distribution process is that once the electricity arrives from the TDSP (bulk supply) at the local city/town switching station it then becomes the TDU's job to deliver the electricity to homes and businesses at the PUC approved tariff amount.
Oddly enough, this would-be clear distinction is clouded by the fact that all the major TDU companies that distribute power on local grids are also TDSPs. This is because the same companies are all involved in planning, building, and operating the major transmission lines reaching across the state.
So, it's not surprising that twenty years ago, TDSPs and TDUs became interchangeable terms in the Texas energy energy industry because there didn't seem to be a significant reason to distinguish between the two roles. In fact, even though "TDU" is a PUCT term, a number of PUCT reports concerning local transmission/distribution companies that date before 2006 only use "TDSP". However, beginning around 2006, the PUCT began using "Transmission and Distribution Utility" or "TDU" in its orders and rulings. In one PUCT rule-making case in 2006, TDU is used 679 times throughout the report but TDSP is used only once.
Which is right: TDSP or TDU? Both. Texas electricity customers still see local distribution or deliver charges on their bills listed as TDSP or TDU charges and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
But technically speaking because these are PUCT-approved delivery tariff charges from the Transmission/Distribution Utility (TDU) and not bulk transmission from ERCOT's Transmission/Distribution Service Provider (TDSP), it's more accurate to call these "TDU distribution charges".