Carbon monoxide exposure incidents increase 10 percent during winter
CenterPoint Energy and Minneapolis Fire team up to keep your family safe
2016-01-21T06:00:00Z

MINNEAPOLIS – January 21, 2016 – Carbon monoxide (CO) incidents increase by more than 10 percent during the winter months.  CO is often called the silent killer; it is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas which when inhaled, enters the blood stream preventing proper absorption of oxygen, leading to illness and even death.  According to the Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division, municipal fire departments across Minnesota respond to approximately 2,000 CO incidents or more each year; including serious injury or death. 

 “Typically, CO is created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil or methane don’t burn completely,” said Tim Boettcher, master service technician for CenterPoint Energy’s Home Service Plus®. “Home heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel inadequately can be sources of carbon monoxide.” 

 “According to the Minnesota Poison Control Center, there are thousands of deaths each year as a result of carbon monoxide, making it the leading cause of death due to poisoning,” said Bryan Tyner, Minneapolis Fire Department Assistant Chief. “Additionally, our response to non-fire related CO incidents increase by 10 percent during the winter, so the time for prevention is now.”

CenterPoint Energy together with the Minneapolis Fire Department reminds the public of important safety tips about how to recognize the symptoms and signs of CO exposure
  • Flu-like symptoms including headaches, nausea, fatigue, confusion and dizziness that disappear when a person breathes fresh air.
  • ​Unusually high indoor humidity with persistent heavy condensation on walls and windows and soot or water collecting near a burner or vent can be an indication of CO.
  • Stuffy, stale or noticeably poor indoor air quality.
If you suspect CO exposure, leave the area immediately taking your pets with you and tell others to do the same. Once you are safely away from the area, call 911 to report the suspected CO incident.
 
Treatment for CO exposure is fresh air or oxygen. Severe exposure requires medical attention. Do not return to your home or building until the source of the problem is discovered and corrected.  

To prevent CO build up:​
  • As required by law, purchase a CO detection device with an audible alarm and digital display and install it no more than 10 feet from each sleeping quarter. Fuel-burning appliances, equipment and combustible engines all produce CO that can reach dangerous levels if improperly operated or maintained.   
  • ​Have fuel-burning equipment regularly checked by a qualified technician (most manufacturers recommend annual check-ups). 
  • ​​Never operate an automobile, lawn mower or any combustion engine, barbecue grill or similar equipment in an enclosed area such as your home, garage, tent, fish house, trailer or place of business, even with the door open. Any pollutants in the air from the garage, such as a car engine running, can travel into the structure and CO can accumulate.
  • Never leave a fire smoldering in a fireplace. 
  • Check frequently for visible signs of problems, such as high indoor humidity and soot or water collecting near a burner or vent.  
  • Equipment that uses natural gas should produce a clear blue flame. A yellow or orange flame may indicate a qualified technician should check for a potential problem with the equipment.
  • Provide adequate combustion air for all your appliances.
  • Be certain fuel-burning equipment properly vents to the outdoors. 
  • Keep vents, fresh air intakes and chimneys clear of debris or other obstructions and check for vent pipes that have gaps, leaks, spaces or are rusted through.
  • Never attempt to heat a room with a range, oven or clothes dryer 

For more information about natural gas safety, visit www.centerpointenergy.com/besafe​  or call 612-372-4727 or 1-800-245-2377.



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.

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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.