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CenterPoint Energy responds to natural gas outage

April 16, 2010 - CenterPoint Energy is responding to a natural gas outage affecting approximately 1,600 customers in the northeast Arkansas towns of Brinkley, Cotton Plant, Wheatley and Palestine. The outage was caused by a piece of farm equipment that hit a natural gas line yesterday evening disrupting service.

“CenterPoint Energy has begun the process of turning off the flow of gas to each customer’s natural gas meter,” said Terry Rollins, district director for CenterPoint Energy. “We will then work to ensure that the natural gas distribution lines are clear of air. Once the lines are clear, we will begin the process of going meter to meter to restore gas service to each customer.”

The relighting process requires CenterPoint Energy employees to have access to each location to light pilots and check to make sure it is safe to resume service.

“For this reason, we’d like to ask that customers be at home if possible so our employees can go inside to restore natural gas service. A customer needs to call us only if there is a door hanger at their home or business indicating that we’ve already been by to attempt to restore service. Please call the number on the door tag left by our service personnel,” Rollins said.

“We realize this is an inconvenience,” he added. “Fortunately, we are bringing in the necessary resources from other parts of the state to work as quickly and as safely as possible and anticipate restoring service to all customers - providing we have access to relight indoor appliances - by Saturday night. We will begin the relighting process by 1:00 this afternoon and will continue working throughout the weekend until all customers are restored.”

For safety reasons, the company urges customers not to turn any valves or tamper with the natural gas meter. Opening or turning any valves could allow air to enter the natural gas lines, which would hinder the re-pressurization process.