MINNEAPOLIS - April 6, 2010 - CenterPoint Energy reminds customers that Cold Weather Rule (CWR) protection ends after April 15 and those with a past due balance at that time, may have their natural gas service disconnected. The Minnesota CWR protects residential customers who are having problems paying their natural gas bill from having their service disconnected from Oct. 15 through April 15. While the CWR does not prevent disconnection, it does give qualified customers extra protection during the coldest months as defined in the rule.
“As a result, customers who anticipate having a problem paying their natural gas bill, receive a disconnection notice or need their natural gas service reconnected are urged to call us immediately so that we can discuss payment arrangements,” said Tal Centers, vice president of operations for CenterPoint Energy. “Plus, we can help them enroll in CenterPoint Energy’s bill payment programs and direct them to energy assistance funding available at local social service agencies.”
CenterPoint Energy offers a variety of payment options and energy assistance programs including the Budget Billing Plan, which is designed to avoid payment peaks by spreading their heating costs throughout the year.
The company also offers a Gas Affordability Program (GAP), which helps qualified customers lower their monthly gas bills and pay past due balances. To qualify for the GAP program, customers must have an active Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) guarantee or have received a LIHEAP grant for the current heating season. If qualified and accepted into the program, customers can receive credits on their monthly natural gas bill. CenterPoint Energy will not shut off participating customers’ natural gas service during the program year, provided the customers make agreed upon payments.
To make a payment and avoid service disruption, or to learn more about energy assistance or CenterPoint Energy’s payment programs, please call 1-612-372-4680 or 1-800-729-6164, or visit the company’s Web site at CenterPointEnergy.com/paybill.
For information about ways to reduce energy use and lower energy bills, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/saveenergy.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission and 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 $20 billion. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. In Minnesota, CenterPoint Energy is the state’s largest natural gas distribution utility, serving about 800,000 customers in 260 communities. The utility also operates a non-regulated business in Minnesota called Home Service Plus®. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.