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CenterPoint Energy reports second quarter 2012 earnings

Houston, TX - August 2, 2012 - CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) today reported net income of $126 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2012 compared to $119 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, for the same period of 2011. Operating income for the second quarter of 2012 was $302 million compared to $303 million for the same period of 2011.

“I am pleased with our company’s operating and financial performance for the quarter,” said David M. McClanahan, president and chief executive officer of CenterPoint Energy. “We recently closed on two transactions in our midstream business and continue to look at other growth opportunities that can enhance our balanced portfolio of electric and natural gas assets.”

For the six months ended June 30, 2012, net income was $273 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, compared to $267 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, for the same period of 2011. Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2012, was $640 million compared to $667 million for the same period of 2011.

Electric Transmission & Distribution

The electric transmission & distribution segment reported operating income of $191 million for the second quarter of 2012, consisting of $153 million from the regulated electric transmission & distribution utility operations (TDU) and $38 million related to securitization bonds. Operating income for the second quarter of 2011 was $185 million, consisting of $153 million from the TDU and $32 million related to securitization bonds. Operating income for the TDU benefited from growth of over 43,000 metered customers since June 2011, higher miscellaneous revenue, and ongoing recognition of deferred equity returns associated primarily with the company’s recovery of true-up proceeds. These increases were partially offset by higher net transmission costs and impacts from new rates implemented in September 2011.

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2012, was $298 million, consisting of $223 million from the TDU and $75 million related to securitization bonds. Operating income for the same period of 2011 was $286 million, consisting of $221 million from the TDU and $65 million related to securitization bonds.

Natural Gas Distribution

The natural gas distribution segment reported operating income of $9 million for the second quarter of 2012 compared to $13 million for the same period of 2011. Operating income declined primarily due to weather that was milder than the same period of 2011.

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2012, was $130 million compared to $155 million for the same period of 2011.

Interstate Pipelines

The interstate pipelines segment reported operating income of $52 million for the second quarter of 2012 compared to $60 million for the same period of 2011. The decline was primarily due to the expiration of a backhaul contract on the Carthage-to-Perryville pipeline.

In addition to operating income, this segment recorded equity income of $6 million for the second quarter of 2012 from its 50 percent interest in the Southeast Supply Header (SESH) compared to $5 million for the same period of 2011.

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2012, was $112 million compared to $136 million for the same period of 2011. In addition to operating income, this segment recorded equity income of $12 million for the six months ended June 30, 2012, from its 50 percent interest in SESH compared to $9 million for the same period of 2011.

Field Services

The field services segment reported operating income of $51 million for the second quarter of 2012 compared to $39 million for the same period of 2011. Operating income benefited from higher gathering margins in the Haynesville and Fayetteville shales, partially offset by lower prices received from sales of retained gas.

In addition to operating income, this business had equity income of $2 million for the second quarter of 2012 from its 50 percent interest in a gathering and processing joint venture (Waskom) compared to $3 million for the same period of 2011. The decline is due to lower throughput volume attributable to supply disruptions as well as lower commodity prices.

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2012, was $98 million compared to $75 million for the same period of 2011. Equity income from Waskom was $5 million for each of the six months ended June 30, 2012, and 2011.

Competitive Natural Gas Sales and Services

The competitive natural gas sales and services segment reported an operating loss of $4 million for the second quarter of 2012 compared to operating income of $3 million for the same period of 2011. Operating income for the second quarter of 2012 included charges of $4 million compared to gains of $4 million for the same period of 2011 related to mark-to-market accounting for derivatives associated with certain forward natural gas purchases and sales used to lock in economic margins.

The operating loss for the six months ended June 30, 2012, was $3 million compared to operating income of $13 million for the same period of 2011. Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2012, included charges of $5 million compared to gains of $2 million for the same period of 2011 resulting from mark-to-market accounting. The six months ended June 30, 2012, also included a $4 million write-down of natural gas inventory to the lower of average cost or market.

Dividend Declaration

On July 26, 2012, CenterPoint Energy’s board of directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.2025 per share of common stock payable on September 10, 2012, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 16, 2012.

Revised Outlook for 2012

CenterPoint Energy expects diluted earnings per share for 2012 to be in the range of $1.13 to $1.23, up from previously provided guidance of $1.08 to $1.20 per diluted share. This guidance takes into consideration the expected impact of the two recently announced acquisitions by the field services business, performance to date and various economic and operational assumptions related to the business segments in which the company operates. Significant variables that may impact results include commodity prices, throughput volume, weather, regulatory proceedings, effective tax rates and financing activities. In providing this guidance, the company does not include the impact of any changes in accounting standards, significant future acquisitions or divestitures, the change in the value of Time Warner stocks and the related ZENS securities, or the timing effects of mark-to-market and inventory accounting in the company’s competitive natural gas sales and services business. In addition, this guidance excludes a non-recurring gain which will be recognized in the third quarter of 2012 relating to the July 2012 acquisition of the additional 50 percent interest in the Waskom Gas Processing Company.

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 June 30, 2012. A copy of that report is available on the company’s website, 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, August 2, 2012, 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 on the company’s website, under the Investors section. A replay of the call can be accessed approximately two hours after the completion of the call and will be archived on the website 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 more than $22 billion. With over 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. For more information, visit the company’s website at CenterPointEnergy.com.

This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual events and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.  The statements in this news release regarding the company’s earnings outlook for 2012 and future financial performance and results of operations, 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. Factors that could affect actual results include (1) state and federal legislative and regulatory actions or developments affecting various aspects of CenterPoint Energy’s businesses, including, among others, energy deregulation or re-regulation, pipeline integrity and safety, health care reform, financial reform and tax legislation; (2) state and federal legislative and regulatory actions or developments relating to the environment, including those related to global climate change; (3) timely and appropriate rate actions that allow recovery of costs and a reasonable return on investment; (4) the timing and outcome of any audits, disputes or other proceedings related to taxes; (5) problems with construction, implementation of necessary technology or other issues with respect to major capital projects that result in delays or in cost overruns that cannot be recouped in rates; (6) industrial, commercial and residential growth in CenterPoint Energy’s service territories and changes in market demand, including the effects of energy efficiency measures and demographic patterns; (7) the timing and extent of changes in commodity prices, particularly natural gas and natural gas liquids, and the effects of geographic and seasonal commodity price differentials, including the effects of these circumstances on re-contracting available capacity on CenterPoint Energy’s interstate pipelines; (8) the timing and extent of changes in the supply of natural gas, particularly supplies available for gathering by CenterPoint Energy’s field services business and transporting by its interstate pipelines, including the impact of natural gas and natural gas liquids prices on the level of drilling and production activities in the regions served by CenterPoint Energy; (9) competition in CenterPoint Energy’s mid-continent region footprint for access to natural gas supplies and to markets; (10) weather variations and other natural phenomena; (11) any direct or indirect effects on CenterPoint Energy’s facilities, operations and financial condition resulting from terrorism, cyber-attacks, data security breaches or other attempts to disrupt its businesses or the businesses of third parties, or other catastrophic events; (12) the impact of unplanned facility outages; (13) timely and appropriate regulatory actions allowing securitization or other recovery of costs associated with any future hurricanes or natural disasters; (14) changes in interest rates or rates of inflation; (15) commercial bank and financial market conditions, CenterPoint Energy’s access to capital, the cost of such capital, and the results of our financing and refinancing efforts, including availability of funds in the debt capital markets; (16) actions by credit rating agencies; (17) effectiveness of CenterPoint Energy’s risk management activities; (18) inability of various counterparties to meet their obligations; (19) non-payment for services due to financial distress of CenterPoint Energy’s customers; (20) the ability of GenOn Energy, Inc. (formerly known as RRI Energy, Inc.) and its subsidiaries to satisfy their obligations to CenterPoint Energy and its subsidiaries; (21) the ability of retail electric providers, and particularly the two largest customers of the TDU, to satisfy their obligations to CenterPoint Energy and its subsidiaries; (22) the outcome of litigation brought by or against CenterPoint Energy; (23) CenterPoint Energy’s ability to control costs; (24) the investment performance of pension and postretirement benefit plans; (25) potential business strategies, including restructurings, acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses; (26) acquisition and merger activities involving CenterPoint Energy or its competitors; and (27) other factors discussed in CenterPoint Energy’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, CenterPoint Energy’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2012, and June 30, 2012, and other reports CenterPoint Energy or its subsidiaries may file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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