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CenterPoint Energy reports first quarter 2013 earnings

Houston - May 2, 2013 - CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) today reported net income of $147 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2013, the same results reported for the first quarter of 2012. Operating income for the first quarter of 2013 was $332 million dollars, compared to $338 million for the same period of 2012.

“I am pleased with the overall performance of our business portfolio this quarter,” said David M. McClanahan, president and chief executive officer of CenterPoint Energy. “Our regulated gas distribution unit and competitive natural gas sales and services unit performed well offsetting a first quarter decline in our electric utility. In the midstream business, our field services unit continues to benefit from its contracting strategy and the earnings from recent acquisitions, which partially offset expected declines in our interstate pipelines.  I am also pleased to announce that we closed on our midstream partnership yesterday.”

Electric Transmission & Distribution

The electric transmission & distribution segment reported operating income of $84 million for the first quarter of 2013, consisting of $49 million from the regulated electric transmission & distribution utility operations (TDU) and $35 million related to securitization bonds. Operating income for the first quarter of 2012 was $107 million, consisting of $70 million from the TDU and $37 million related to securitization bonds.

First quarter operating income for the TDU declined due to lower right of way revenues, higher expenses, and increased depreciation and other taxes. Some of these impacts are timing related and are expected to reverse over the remainder of the year. Additionally, the utility continues to see metered customer count grow by approximately 2 percent year over year.

Natural Gas Distribution

The natural gas distribution segment reported operating income of $139 million for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $121 million for the same period of 2012. Operating income benefited from a return to normal winter weather, rate changes and customer growth, partially offset by an increase in depreciation.

Interstate Pipelines

The interstate pipelines segment reported operating income of $52 million for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $60 million for the same period of 2012. The decrease was partially a result of a decline in off system transportation revenue due to a lack of geographic price differentials which also contributed to a reduction in pricing and volumes on some contract renewals. Declines in ancillary services also contributed to lower operating income.

In addition to operating income, this segment recorded equity income from its 50 percent interest in the Southeast Supply Header (SESH) of $5 million for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $6 million for the first quarter of last year. The decrease was primarily due to unplanned pipeline maintenance.

Field Services

The field services segment reported operating income of $53 million for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $47 million for the same period of 2012. First quarter 2013 operating income benefited from the acquisitions completed last year, the timing of revenue from contracts with throughput commitments and higher natural gas prices on the sale of retained gas. These benefits were partially offset by reduced gathering volumes and lower liquids pricing.

In the first quarter of 2012, this business had equity income of $3 million from its 50 percent interest in Waskom Gas Processing Company which is now owned 100 percent by the unit and thus reflected in operating income.

Competitive Natural Gas Sales and Services

The competitive natural gas sales and services segment reported operating income of $7 million for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $1 million for the same period of 2012. The increase in operating income is due to improved margins. Operating income for the first quarter of this year included a $5 million charge resulting from mark-to-market accounting for derivatives associated with forward natural gas transactions used to lock in economic margins, compared to a $1 million charge in 2012.

Dividend Declaration

On April 25, 2013, CenterPoint Energy’s board of directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.2075 per share of common stock payable on June 10, 2013, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 16, 2013.

Outlook for 2013

CenterPoint Energy revised its estimate for 2013 earnings on a guidance basis to be in the range of $1.17 to $1.25 per diluted share. This guidance range takes into consideration the closing of our midstream partnership on May 1, 2013 and the performance to date of our businesses. Earnings guidance is being provided in the form of a range to reflect economic and operational variables associated with the company’s various business segments and ownership interest in the midstream partnership. Significant variables include the impact to earnings of commodity prices, volume throughput, 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, any impact to earnings from 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.

Filing of Form 10-Q for CenterPoint Energy, Inc.

Today, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. filed its Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the period ended March 31, 2013. A copy is available on the company’s website, under the Investors section. Company SEC filings and other documents relating to its corporate governance can also be found on the website.

Webcast of Earnings Conference Call

CenterPoint Energy’s management will host an earnings conference call on Thursday, May 2, 2013, 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 and competitive natural gas sales and 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 58.3% limited partner interest in a midstream partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp. with operations in major natural gas and liquids-rich producing areas of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. With more than 8,700 employees, CenterPoint and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 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. 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 2013 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, tax legislation, and actions regarding the rates charged by CenterPoint Energy’s regulated businesses; (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, the competitive effects of the available pipeline capacity in the regions we serve, 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 markets; (10) weather variations and other natural phenomena, including the impact on operations and capital from severe weather events; (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 its 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.), a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG 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 or its subsidiaries; (23) CenterPoint Energy’s ability to control costs; (24) the investment performance of pension and postretirement benefit plans; (25) potential business strategies, including restructurings, joint ventures, and acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, for which no assurance can be given that they will be completed or will provide the anticipated benefits to CenterPoint Energy; (26) acquisition and merger activities involving CenterPoint Energy or its competitors; (27) the performance of CenterPoint Energy’s midstream partnership, including whether or not it is able to achieve anticipated operational and commercial synergies, or realize expected growth opportunities; (28) the integration of the operations of the businesses CenterPoint Energy contributed to its midstream partnership with those contributed by the other partners;  (29) future economic conditions in regional and national markets and their effects on sales, prices and costs; and (30) other factors discussed in CenterPoint Energy’s Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2012, as well as in CenterPoint Energy's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, and other reports CenterPoint Energy or its subsidiaries may file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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