HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Residents at a mobile home park in north Houston have been without electricity since last Monday -- when temperatures have reached the triple digits.
CenterPoint Energy confirms energy theft occurred at the property off Sweetwater Lane. The company removed the tampered meter and had to disconnect the service. A spokeswoman with the company says the landlord must hire a licensed electrician to make repairs before they can reconnect the service.
The Houston Police Department also confirms they are investigating theft of service.
Five mobile homes are affected. With the brutal heat and no relief in sight, some tenants have left.
"This trailer number 5, she has three little kids. They haven’t been home because they’re staying somewhere else," said Richard Coheney, a tenant who has also lost power.
FOX 26 did talk to the landlord, Mario Garcia, at his home.
However, the tenants say they've always paid Garcia for utilities including electric.
"That’s included in your rent. That’s the way it’s always been [run] and, like I said, we’ve been tenants of [his] for 3 years," said Zelda James.
Margarita Castro says she lived there for eight years and even asked Garcia for her own meter.
For now, she and Coheney are running extension cords from another neighbor's home to use small portable air conditioners.
Michael James says he used to be the property manager and brought up the power meter to Garcia and his maintenance worker. James says he noticed something was wrong when he was out removing brush. When Garcia didn't address the problem, James said he reported it to CenterPoint.
HPD says no one has been charged yet. They also said tenants reported to police that they were told rent included utilities.
Garcia did not provide a date of when he would make any repairs.