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CenterPoint Energy Reports Third Quarter 2010 Earnings

Houston, TX – October 28, 2010 - CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) today reported net income of $123 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2010 compared to $114 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, for the same period of 2009. Operating income for the third quarter of 2010 was $327 million compared to $287 million for the same period of 2009.

“I am pleased with the overall results from our business units this quarter,” said David M. McClanahan, president and chief executive officer of CenterPoint Energy. “Our regulated electric and natural gas utilities performed well and we continue to see the benefits of the significant investments we have made in our field services and pipeline businesses.”

For the nine months ended September 30, 2010, net income was $318 million, or $0.78 per diluted share, compared to $267 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, for the same period of 2009. Operating income for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, was $947 million compared to $825 million for the same period of 2009.

OPERATING INCOME BY SEGMENT

Electric Transmission & Distribution

The electric transmission & distribution segment reported operating income of $212 million for the third quarter of 2010, consisting of $178 million from the regulated electric transmission & distribution utility operations (TDU) and $34 million related to transition and system restoration bonds. Operating income for the third quarter of 2009 was $218 million, consisting of $187 million from the TDU and $31 million related to transition bonds. Operating income for the TDU increased from growth of nearly 21,000 metered customers since September 2009, but was more than offset by reduced revenues associated with the credit to customers’ bills reflecting the benefit of deferred taxes associated with Hurricane Ike storm restoration costs, and increased operation and maintenance expenses.
Operating income for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, was $477 million, consisting of $371 million from the TDU and $106 million related to transition and system restoration bonds. Operating income for the same period of 2009 was $450 million, consisting of $353 million from the TDU and $97 million related to transition bonds.

Natural Gas Distribution

The natural gas distribution segment reported an operating loss of $4 million for the third quarter of 2010 compared to an operating loss of $15 million for the same period of 2009. Operating results benefited from rate increases and rate design changes, and higher system throughput, partially offset by higher operation and maintenance expenses. Due to seasonal impacts, this segment typically reports a loss in the third quarter.

Operating income for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, was $145 million compared to $105 million for the same period of 2009.

Interstate Pipelines

The interstate pipelines segment reported operating income of $68 million for the third quarter of 2010 compared to $64 million for the same period of 2009. Operating income increased due to higher revenue from firm contracts associated with Phase IV of the Carthage to Perryville pipeline and for deliveries to gas-fired power generators, as well as lower operation and maintenance expenses, partially offset by reduced revenues from ancillary services.

In addition to operating income, this segment recorded equity income of $8 million for the third quarter of 2010 primarily from its 50 percent interest in the Southeast Supply Header (SESH) compared to an equity loss of $5 million for the third quarter of 2009, which included a non-cash charge of $11 million to reflect SESH’s discontinued use of regulatory accounting.

Operating income for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, was $207 million compared to $194 million for the same period of 2009. In addition to operating income, this segment recorded equity income of $15 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, primarily from its 50 percent interest in SESH compared to $2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2009, which included non-cash charges of $16 million to reflect SESH’s discontinued use of regulatory accounting.

Field Services

The field services segment reported operating income of $40 million for the third quarter of 2010 compared to $23 million for the same period of 2009. Revenue growth from higher gathering volumes was partially offset by increased operation and maintenance expenses primarily related to facility expansions.

In addition to operating income, this business had equity income of $3 million in the third quarter of 2010 compared to $2 million in the third quarter of 2009 from its 50 percent interest in a gas processing plant.

Operating income for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, was $94 million compared to $72 million for the same period of 2009. Equity income from the jointly-owned gas processing plant was $8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, compared to $6 million for the same period of 2009.

Competitive Natural Gas Sales and Services

The competitive natural gas sales and services segment reported operating income of $7 million for the third quarter of 2010 compared to an operating loss of $8 million for the same period of 2009. Operating income for the third quarter of 2010 included gains of $19 million resulting from mark-to-market accounting for derivatives associated with certain forward natural gas purchases and sales used to lock in economic margins compared to charges of $6 million for the same period of 2009. The third quarter of 2010 also included a $6 million write-down of natural gas inventory to the lower of average cost or market.

Operating income for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, was $16 million compared to no operating income for the same period of 2009. Operating income for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, included gains of $14 million resulting from mark-to-market accounting compared to charges of $22 million for the same period of 2009. Each of the nine months ended September 30, 2010 and 2009, also included $6 million in inventory write-downs.

DIVIDEND DECLARATION

On October 21, 2010, CenterPoint Energy’s board of directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.195 per share of common stock payable on December 10, 2010, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on November 16, 2010.

OUTLOOK REAFFIRMED FOR 2010

CenterPoint Energy reaffirmed its 2010 earnings guidance of $1.02 to $1.12 per diluted share. This guidance takes into consideration performance to date, equity issuances and various economic and operational assumptions related to the business segments in which the company operates. The company has made certain assumptions regarding the timing and cost of financing activities and the impact to earnings of various regulatory proceedings. In providing this guidance, the company has not included the impact of any changes in accounting standards, any impact from significant acquisitions or divestitures, any impact to income from the change in value of Time Warner stocks and the related ZENS securities, the timing effects of mark-to-market or inventory accounting in the company’s competitive natural gas sales and services business, or the outcome of the TDU’s true-up appeal. The company has also excluded increased taxes recorded in the first quarter of 2010 as a result of recent health care legislation. For the impact of these factors on the company’s earnings for the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2010, see the reconciliation below.

FILING OF FORM 10-Q FOR CENTERPOINT ENERGY, INC.

Today, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2010. A copy of that report is available on the company’s Web site, www.CenterPointEnergy.com, under the Investors section. Other filings the company makes with the SEC and other documents relating to its corporate governance can also be found on that site.

WEBCAST OF EARNINGS CONFERENCE CALL

CenterPoint Energy’s management will host an earnings conference call on Thursday, October 28, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. Central time or 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. Interested parties may listen to a live audio broadcast of the conference call at www.CenterPointEnergy.com. A replay of the call can be accessed approximately two hours after the completion of the call and will be archived on the Web site for at least one year.

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 over $19 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 Web site at www.CenterPointEnergy.com.

This news release includes forward-looking statements. Actual events and results may differ materially from those projected. The statements in this news release regarding the company’s earnings outlook for 2010 and future financial performance and results of operations, and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Factors that could affect actual results include the timing and outcome of the appeal from the true-up proceedings, the timing and impact of future regulatory, legislative, and IRS decisions, effects of competition, weather variations, changes in CenterPoint Energy’s or its subsidiaries’ business plans, financial market conditions, the timing and extent of changes in natural gas and natural gas liquids prices, the impact of unplanned facility outages, and other factors discussed in CenterPoint Energy’s and its subsidiaries’ Forms 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009, CenterPoint Energy’s and its subsidiaries’ Forms 10-Q for the periods ended March 31, 2010, and June 30, 2010, CenterPoint Energy’s Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2010, and other filings with the SEC.