Smart meter data helps Houstonian cut electric use
Winner of Biggest Energy Saversm contest earns Chevy Volt for managing energy use
2011-12-14T10:45:00Z

HOUSTON – December 14, 2011 – With the help of data from his smart meter, local resident Mike Butler cut his electricity use by 36 percent this summer to become the Houston-area’s Biggest Energy Saver.

During the two-month Biggest Energy Saver consumer skill contest, registered participants competed by using smart meter data to reduce their electricity consumption and demonstrate how those reductions can be sustained over time.

“As Texas made history this summer with record-breaking heat, Mike and our other winners significantly reduced their energy consumption,” said Kenny Mercado, CenterPoint Energy senior vice president responsible for smart grid technology. “Their efforts demonstrate how using smart meters and performing simple, energy-saving measures can make an impact.”

The Houston-area grand prize winner used an in-home energy monitor and the Smart Meter Texas Portal to track his overall electric usage, helping him manage the use of certain appliances and his air conditioning system. The portal shows consumers their electricity use in 15-minute intervals to help them manage their consumption.

“My wife and I made simple behavioral changes to win the contest,” said Butler. “In addition to learning how to program our air conditioner’s thermostat so it will turn up when we weren’t home, I identified power hogs like leaving my laptops charging all the time or keeping them on sleep mode. I enlisted our apartment complex management to tune up our air conditioner and replace door and window seals and I checked my statistics weekly on SmartMeterTexas.com to verify the impact of these efforts.”

On behalf of contest sponsor Grid 21, CenterPoint Energy’s electric business presented Butler with a 2011 Chevy Volt, a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle. The company is also presenting a full kitchen suite of GE Profile smart appliances to the competition’s first prize winner, a GE Profile front load washer/electric dryer pair to the second prize winner and GE In-Home Network suites to five third prize winners.

 

 CategoryName and LocationPrize
 Grand PrizeMike Butler
Houston, Texas
2011 GM Volt electric vehicle
 First Prize
Sally Andrews
Houston, Texas
Suite of GE Profile Appliances
 Second Prize Phillip Newsum
 Humble, Texas 
GE Energy-Star Front Load Home Laundry pair 

Biggest Energy Saver campaign results included:

• The top 10 percent of contest entrants in the CenterPoint Energy service area saved, on average, 20.7 percent of electric power compared to same time period in 2010.
• The campaign, which was the largest of its kind in the U.S., prompted 6,126 Texas residents in the CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric and Oncor service areas to register their smart meters with the Smart Meter Texas Portal, almost three times as many as during the same period last year
• Nearly 30,000 people visited the BiggestEnergySaver.com website and blog to learn about smart meters and get energy efficiency tips.
• Overall, the top 10 percent of Houston-area contest participants saved more than 12,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity during August and September.

Sixteen finalists were selected from the CenterPoint Energy electric service territory based on the greatest percentage decrease in electricity usage from August 1, 2011, through September 30, 2011, and a comparable time period in 2010. Finalists provided a short summary of the steps and tools they used to achieve their energy savings. Finalist summaries were judged by an independent panel of energy experts based on criteria like sustainability and ease of duplication by others of their stated electricity saving measures.

The Biggest Energy Saver campaign was designed to showcase the power of smart meter data. The Biggest Energy Saver campaign’s contests and giveaways are sponsored by Grid 21, a non-profit organization committed to engaging electricity consumers in using a new generation of tools and technologies to better manage their electricity consumption. CenterPoint Energy; along with Oncor, a north Texas electric utility; technology partners Itron and Landis+Gyr; collaborator IBM; and prize sponsors GE and Tendril all helped create the inaugural Biggest Energy Saver campaign. Energy efficiency tips and other helpful information will remain on BiggestEnergySaver.com throughout the year.

CenterPoint Energy is a leader in the deployment of smart meters and intelligent grid technology. The company began deploying smart meters in 2009 and accelerated the deployment after receiving a $200 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. A portion of the grant is also funding the implementation of intelligent grid technology in central Houston, which will be completed by year-end 2013 to improve power reliability for more than 500,000 consumers.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. Assets total nearly $21 billion. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. For more information, visit the website at www.CenterPointEnergy.com.

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Gov. Mark Dayton proclaims April as Minnesota Safe Digging Month

MINNEAPOLIS April 25, 2017Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton issued a proclamation announcing April as Minnesota Safe Digging Month. The proclamation reminds homeowners to call 811 before starting any outdoor digging projects to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages.

An underground utility line is damaged once every six minutes nationwide because someone decided to dig without first calling 811, according to data collected by Common Ground Alliance (CGA)

"Contacting 811 at least two working days before digging prevents 99 percent of damages to vital underground utilities," said Keith Novy, supervisor of Damage Prevention for CenterPoint Energy.  "811 makes it very easy and convenient. You can submit your dig requests on your home computer on the website, GopherStateOneCall.org, or call 811 and talk to an operator."

By calling 811 before digging:

  • Homeowners are connected to Gopher State One Call, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig.
  • Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and paint.
  • Once lines have been accurately marked, homeowners can dig carefully around marked lines.
     

Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in damage to gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines, which can lead to service disruptions, serious injuries and costly repairs.

Examples of digging projects that require a call to 811 before starting would be installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, laying underground cable or installing water lines. Visit Call811.com for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns a 55.4 percent limited partner interest in Enable Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp., which owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. Withmore than 7,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 140 years. The utility also operates a non-regulated business in Minnesota called Home Service Plus®. For more information, visit the website at CenterPointEnergy.com.

Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaims April as Arkansas Safe Digging Month

HOUSTON April 18, 2017Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a proclamation announcing April as Arkansas Safe Digging Month. The proclamation reminds homeowners to call 811 before starting any outdoor digging projects to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages.

An underground utility line is damaged once every six minutes nationwide because someone decided to dig without first calling 811, according to data collected by Common Ground Alliance (CGA). 

"Contacting 811 at least two working days before digging prevents 99 percent of damages to vital underground utilities," said Vincent Vickers, supervisor of Damage Prevention for CenterPoint Energy.  "811 makes it very easy and convenient. You can submit your dig requests on your home computer on the website, www.arkonecall.com, or call 811 and talk to an operator."

By calling 811 before digging:

  • Homeowners are connected to Arkansas One Call, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig.
  • Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and paint.
  • Once lines have been accurately marked, homeowners can dig carefully around marked lines.

Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in damage to gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines, which can lead to service disruptions, serious injuries and costly repairs.


Examples of digging projects that require a call to 811 before starting would be installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, laying underground cable or installing water lines. Visit www.call811.com for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns a 54.1 percent limited partner interest in Enable Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp., which owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With more than 7,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 140 years. For more information, visit the website at www.CenterPointEnergy.com

Gov. Greg Abbott proclaims April as Texas Safe Digging Month

HOUSTON April 18, 2017Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation announcing April as Texas Safe Digging Month. The proclamation reminds homeowners to call 811 before starting any outdoor digging projects to prevent injuries, property damage and inconvenient outages.

An underground utility line is damaged once every six minutes nationwide because someone decided to dig without first calling 811, according to data collected by Common Ground Alliance (CGA). 

"Contacting 811 at least two working days before digging prevents 99 percent of damages to vital underground utilities," said Joseph Berry, director of Underground Locating for CenterPoint Energy.  "811 makes it very easy and convenient. You can submit your dig requests on your home computer at the website, www.lonestar811.com, or call 811 and talk to an operator."

By calling 811 before digging:

  • Homeowners are connected to Lone Star 811, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of the intent to dig.
  • Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags and paint.
  • Once lines have been accurately marked, homeowners can dig carefully around marked lines.


Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities can result in damage to gas, electric, communications, water and sewer lines, which can lead to service disruptions, serious injuries and costly repairs.


Every digging project, no matter how large or small, necessitates a call to 811. Examples of digging projects that require a call to 811 before starting would be installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, laying underground cable or installing water lines.  Visit www.call811.com for more information about 811 and the call-before-you-dig process.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns a 54.1 percent limited partner interest in Enable Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp., which owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With more than 7,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 140 years. For more information, visit the website at www.CenterPointEnergy.com

CenterPoint Energy reaches rate case settlement for Houston-area customers

HOUSTON, April 7, 2017 - CenterPoint Energy today filed with the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) a Stipulation and Agreement (the settlement) in the company's pending rate case. The settlement was entered into by all parties in the case, including the City of Houston/Houston Coalition of Cities, the Gulf Coast Coalition of Cities, the Texas Coast Utilities Coalition, and the Staff of the RRC. If approved by the RRC, the settlement will resolve all issues in that proceeding.

The settlement would increase the company's natural gas distribution base rate revenues for Houston-area customers by approximately $16.5 million per year. Additionally, if approved, the settlement will result in initial base rates that are the same for customers in the Houston Division and Texas Coast Division. It would also set a uniform rate for the cost of natural gas, which the company passes on to customers with no mark up.

The settlement would set new parameters, including a 9.6% return on equity on a 55.15% equity capital structure and updated depreciation rates, to be used in future Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program (GRIP) filings. GRIP is an interim rate adjustment allowed by Texas statute that allows utilities to recover their costs related to additional invested capital without filing a full rate case. CenterPoint Energy must file its next GRIP filing within two years of a final order in the pending rate case and a full rate case must be filed within five-and-a-half years after CenterPoint Energy's next GRIP filing.

If approved, residential customers within the Houston and Texas Coast Divisions would pay the same fixed monthly charge of $15.75 and the same usage rate of $0.07431 for each hundred cubic feet (Ccf) of natural gas used. An average residential bill with usage of 34 Ccf would be approximately $37 per month, excluding taxes. If the settlement is approved, the new rates are expected to go into effect in May or June of this year.

"This settlement is the result of collaborative work with all parties involved in the case to find common ground on a solution rather than litigating an extended rate case," said Randy Pryor, CenterPoint Energy's vice president of gas operations. "We believe this settlement benefits all parties and provides CenterPoint Energy the opportunity to earn a reasonable return on the investments we are making for safety and reliability now and in the future," added Pryor.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns a 54.1 percent limited partner interest in Enable Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp.,  which owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With more than 7,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 140 years. For more information, visit the website at www.CenterPointEnergy.com.

This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions of management which are believed to be reasonable at the time made and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual events and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Any statements in this news release regarding future events, such as future regulatory actions on the settlement by the RRC and the impact of such actions, and any other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement contained in this news release speaks only as of the date of this release.

CenterPoint Energy electric transmission and distribution business files Distribution Cost Recovery Factor application

HOUSTON - April 6, 2017 - CenterPoint Energy announced today that its electric transmission and distribution business, CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, filed an application for Distribution Cost Recovery Factor (DCRF) with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) and the cities in its service area.

DCRF is an interim rate adjustment that, if approved, permits an electric utility to implement new rates to account for changes in distribution-invested capital since its last rate case.

"Houston's economy continues to thrive and we are making significant capital investments to meet the needs of our growing customer base and load," said Kenny Mercado, senior vice president of CenterPoint Energy's Electric Operations.

This is the company's third DCRF filing and represents a $44.6 million annual increase over current rates to begin recovering approximately $479 million in distribution capital invested in 2016. The estimated residential customer impact based on a monthly usage of 1,000 kilowatt hours is an $0.80 increase billed to the consumer's Retail Electric Provider. New rates are expected to go into effect by September 1.

 

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and energy services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. The company also owns a 54.1 percent limited partner interest in Enable Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp., which owns, operates and develops natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With more than 7,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 140 years. For more information, visit the website at www.CenterPointEnergy.com.

This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions of management which are believed to be reasonable at the time made and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual events and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Any statements in this news release regarding future events, such as future regulatory actions on the DCRF application, future economic conditions and any other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement contained in this news release speaks only as of the date of this release.