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CenterPoint Energy customers in Mississippi should expect lower natural gas bills this winter
Winter bills expected to be nearly 23 percent lower on average than last winter depending on customer usage

HOUSTON - December 1, 2010 - Wholesale natural gas prices have decreased nationwide and CenterPoint Energy (NYSE:CNP) is passing on these lower prices to Mississippi customers beginning this month.

Through the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA), an allowed adjustment to the gas supply charge portion of a customer bill, CenterPoint Energy passes on increases and decreases in the cost of natural gas with no markup. The PGA typically makes up about 60 percent of a customer bill.

After lowering the PGA, a Mississippi residential customer’s bill using a winter usage of 70 Ccf that was $68.46 last winter will be $52.88 this winter, excluding taxes. This represents a nearly 23 percent decrease.

“This is good news for consumers and we are happy to be able to pass this natural gas price decrease on to customers particularly because natural gas usage typically increases in the winter months due to heating needs,” said Walter Bryant, division vice president of Gas Operations in Mississippi. “In most cases, natural gas continues to be the best energy value for home heating, water heating, cooking and clothes drying.”

CenterPoint Energy recommends that customers take advantage of the many low-cost, no-cost things they can do around the home to save energy and money:

  • Lower your thermostat to 65 degrees when you’re home and even lower when you’re not. By lowering your thermostat 10 - 15 percent for eight hours a day, you can save up to 10 percent a year on your heating costs. Installing a programmable thermostat can help you automatically control your heat usage.
  • Change your air filters regularly. A dirty filter restricts airflow and can increase the operating cost of your furnace by as much as 10 percent.
  • Set your water heater temperature at 120 degrees and wrap water heater pipes. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees from 140 degrees and insulating your pipes can save you up to 10 percent on your water heating costs.
  • Seal leaks around doors, windows and other openings such as pipes or ducts, with caulk or weather-stripping. The most common places where air escapes in homes are floors, walls and ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans and vents, and electrical outlets.
  • On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let the sun’s warmth in. Close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.

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.