Homeowner calls KPRC 2 Investigates to get leaking CenterPoint transformer replaced

SPRING, Texas – A woman in Spring became concerned when she discovered an oil leak. The oil was dripping onto her property and spreading across her lawn. But when the company that owned the leaky equipment wouldn’t return her calls, she called our KPRC 2 Investigates team for help.

Oily mess damages green lawn

As the largest investigative team in Houston, KPRC 2 Investigates is always digging and working to get to the bottom of issues important to you. Sometimes it takes months of work. Other times, like this instance, it took one phone call.

“It’s pretty oily and you can smell it,” said Rhonda Hamby, as she showed KPRC 2 News the oily brown and black patch of grass on her otherwise green lawn. “It’s ugly.”

When Hamby first noticed the problem area, she didn’t know if the oil killing it was coming from the ground or from above. She covered the spot with some wood and put paper towels on top. That’s how she discovered the oil was dripping from the CenterPoint transformer directly above the area.

“I don’t know if the oil is flammable. I don’t know if it’s toxic,” said Hamby. “I can smell it. And it’s just ruining the yard.”

CenterPoint responded, then disappeared

When she called CenterPoint in early August, the company sent a crew to replace her grass the very next day. The crew said they would be back in about a week to fix the leaky transformer.

A week passed. Then a few weeks passed. The new grass died just like old stuff, saturated with oil. After repeated calls, Hamby had no idea when CenterPoint planned to come back.

“I don’t even know that there’s a repair order because no one will tell me,” she explained.

“They are ghosting me. He’s not returning my calls, He’s not returning my emails.”

KPRC 2 Investigates gets results

KPRC 2 Investigates reached out to CenterPoint at 2:30 p.m. on a Friday about the leaking transformer.

In less than 24 hours, a crew went to Hamby’s home, dug up the oil-laden dirt and sod, replaced the leaky transformer and put down new turf.

CenterPoint told us the oil is mineral oil used to insulate high voltage electrical equipment.

CenterPoint didn’t tell us why it took so long to get the transformer replaced before we called; but if you have a problem with lines, wires or other electrical equipment owned by CenterPoint and you can’t get the company to respond, calling the Public Utility Commission’s Customer Protection Division could also help.

You can email them at customer@puc.texas.gov or call (888) 782-8477.

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Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.