​CenterPoint Energy files to change natural gas distribution rates for customers in Minnesota
Capital investments for system safety and reliability are primary drivers for proposed rate change
2015-08-03T20:30:00Z
​​​MINNEAPOLIS –August 3, 2015- CenterPoint Energy today filed an application with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to change the company’s natural gas distribution rates.  If approved, the new rates would generate approximately $54 million or 6 percent in additional revenue on an annual basis. The effect on individual monthly bills will vary depending on natural gas use. If approved, the net impact of the new rates will increase the average residential customer’s bill by about $5 per month.
 
“Our significant investments, such as our ongoing pipeline replacement programs, maintain the safety and reliability of our natural gas system and benefit our customers and communities,” said Joe Vortherms, division vice president of CenterPoint Energy’s regional gas operations. “These capital investments, which are the primary reasons for this proposed increase, help ensure that we have a modernized, technologically advanced natural gas system that will continue to meet the needs of customers now and in the future.” 
 
This filing seeks approval to change the distribution charge on a customer’s natural gas bill, which makes up about 40 to 50 percent of the total bill and covers the cost of distributing natural gas. The filing does not apply to the cost of natural gas, which is the wholesale price the company pays for natural gas, and makes up about 50 to 60 percent of the bill. The wholesale price of natural gas changes monthly depending on market prices and is passed on directly to customers with no mark-up.
 
The proposed change affects two components that make up the distribution charge portion of a customer’s bill:
  • ​First, CenterPoint Energy is proposing to increase the monthly Basic Charge for residential customers from $9.50 to $11.50 a month.
  • Second, the company is proposing to increase the Delivery Charge from the current $0.18977 per therm (which includes the $0.00519 per therm for the Gas Affordability Service Program) to $0.22405 per therm.
The principal reasons CenterPoint Energy is proposing to change base rates are to:
  • ​Recover the company’s significant capital expenditures in its Minnesota service area. In accordance with natural gas pipeline safety and integrity regulations, these capital expenditures are necessary to maintain a safe and reliable system, to respond to significant public improvement requirements on the system and to modernize the system with technology improvements.
  • Establish rates for all customers groups that better reflect the actual costs of providing service to those customers.
  • Achieve an overall revenue recovery level that meets the company’s financial objectives. 
The MPUC is generally allowed 10 months to issue a final decision on general rate filings, however, if the MPUC approves, interim (temporary) rates are expected to take effect on Oct. 2, 2015, and will be in place until a final decision is made. If the final rates are lower than interim rates, CenterPoint Energy will refund customers the difference including interest. If final rates are higher than interim rates, customers will receive no additional charges for natural gas used while interim rates were in effect.
 
Customers with questions about the proposed change to natural gas distribution rates can call CenterPoint Energy at 612-372-4727 or toll-free 800-245-2377, or visit the company’s website at CenterPointEnergy.com/RateCase.
 
Additionally, public hearings will be held to provide customers and other interested parties the opportunity to comment on the rate request, followed by formal hearings at the MPUC.

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. With more than 7,400 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 140 years. For more information, visit the website at 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 MPUC application, 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.  
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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.