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CenterPoint Energy Reports Second Quarter 2009 Earnings

Houston, TX – August 5, 2009 - CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) today reported net income of $86 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2009 compared to $101 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, for the same period of 2008.  Operating income for the second quarter of 2009 was $253 million compared to $297 million for the same period of 2008.
 
“Despite the weak economy and changing energy markets, our business units continued to perform well,” said David M. McClanahan, president and chief executive officer of CenterPoint Energy.  “Our regulated electric and gas utilities turned in solid operating performances as did our pipeline and field services core operations.  However, revenues from ancillary services declined from 2008 when we benefited from unusually high commodity prices.  We continue to believe that the overall fundamentals of our balanced portfolio of electric and natural gas businesses remain strong and position us well as the economy recovers and the energy markets rebound.” 

For the six months ended June 30, 2009, net income was $153 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, compared to $223 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, for the same period of 2008.  Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2009, was $538 million compared to $633 million for the same period of 2008.

OPERATING INCOME BY SEGMENT

Electric Transmission & Distribution
The electric transmission & distribution segment reported operating income of $162 million for the second quarter of 2009, consisting of $129 million from the regulated electric transmission & distribution utility operations (TDU) and $33 million related to transition bonds.  Operating income for the second quarter of 2008 was $164 million, consisting of $129 million from the TDU and $35 million related to transition bonds.  Operating income for the TDU benefited from growth of over 28,000 metered customers since June 2008 and higher net transmission revenues.  Operating income for the second quarter of 2008 included a $9 million gain from a land sale.

As a result of the storm restoration cost recovery legislation enacted by the Texas Legislature in April 2009, the company recorded a regulatory asset of $41 million for carrying costs incurred through June 30, 2009, on amounts it spent for Hurricane Ike storm restoration.  Of that amount, $14 million was reflected in the company’s second quarter 2009 earnings, and the remaining $27 million will be recognized over the life of the storm cost recovery bonds the company expects to issue later this year. 

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2009, was $232 million, consisting of $166 million from the TDU and $66 million related to transition bonds.  Operating income for the same period of 2008 was $255 million, consisting of $183 million from the TDU, $67 million related to transition bonds and $5 million from the competition transition charge (CTC).  The CTC was discontinued in February 2008 when the company securitized the remaining true-up balance.

Natural Gas Distribution
The natural gas distribution segment reported operating income of $2 million for the second quarter of 2009 compared to $4 million for the same period of 2008.  Operating income benefited from rate increases and lower bad debt expense, which were more than offset by higher pension and other employee-related expenses.  Due to seasonal impacts, this segment typically reports minimal earnings in the second quarter.

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2009, was $120 million compared to $125 million for the same period of 2008.

Interstate Pipelines
The interstate pipelines segment reported operating income of $61 million for the second quarter of 2009 compared to $101 million for the same period of 2008.  Operating income for the second quarter of 2008 included an $18 million gain from the sale of two storage development projects.  Operating income benefited from higher revenue from the Carthage to Perryville pipeline and from new firm transportation contracts for gas-fired power generation, which were more than offset by a decline in ancillary services due to significantly lower commodity prices, as well as higher pension and other operation and maintenance expenses. 

In addition to operating income, this business had equity income of $9 million for the second quarter of 2009 from its 50 percent interest in the Southeast Supply Header (SESH), a new pipeline that went into service in September 2008.  In the second quarter of 2008, equity income was $10 million from pre-operating allowance for funds used during construction. 

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2009, was $130 million compared to $172 million for the same period of 2008.  In addition to operating income, this business had equity income of $7 million for the six months ended June 30, 2009, from its interest in SESH.  In the first quarter of 2009, the company recorded a non-cash charge of $5 million to reflect SESH’s decision to discontinue the use of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No.71 – Accounting for the Effects of Certain Types of Regulation.  For the six months ended June 30, 2008, equity income was $15 million from pre-operating allowance for funds used during construction. 

Field Services  
The field services segment reported operating income of $23 million for the second quarter of 2009 compared to $32 million for the same period of 2008.  Solid growth in core gathering services was more than offset by the effect of lower natural gas and liquids prices, which declined from significantly higher levels in 2008.

In addition to operating income, this business had equity income of $2 million in the second quarter of 2009 compared to $4 million in the second quarter of 2008 from its 50 percent interest in a gas processing plant.  The decline was due primarily to lower natural gas liquids prices.

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2009, was $49 million compared to $77 million for the same period of 2008.  Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2008, included gains of $17 million associated with the settlement of a contractual dispute and the sale of non-strategic assets.  Equity income from the jointly-owned gas processing plant was $4 million for the six months ended June 30, 2009, compared to $8 million for the same period of 2008.

Competitive Natural Gas Sales and Services
The competitive natural gas sales and services segment reported operating income of $6 million for the second quarter of 2009 compared to an operating loss of $5 million for the same period of 2008.  Operating income for the second quarter of 2009 included gains of $3 million resulting from mark-to-market accounting for derivatives used to lock in economic margins of certain forward natural gas sales compared to charges of $10 million for the same period of 2008.

Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2009, was $8 million compared to $1 million for the same period of 2008.  Operating income for the six months ended June 30, 2009, included charges of $16 million resulting from mark-to-market accounting compared to charges of $32 million for the same period of 2008.  The six months ended June 30, 2009 also included $6 million in write-downs of inventory to the lower of average cost or market.   

DIVIDEND DECLARATION
On July 23, 2009, CenterPoint Energy’s board of directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per share of common stock payable on September 10, 2009, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on August 14, 2009.    

OUTLOOK REAFFIRMED FOR 2009
CenterPoint Energy reaffirmed its 2009 earnings guidance of $1.05 to $1.15 per diluted share.   This guidance takes into consideration 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 certain financing activities and the impact to earnings of various regulatory proceedings, including recovery of costs associated with Hurricane Ike.  The company cannot predict the ultimate outcome of any of those proceedings.  In providing this guidance, the company has not projected the impact of any changes in accounting standards, any impact from acquisitions or divestitures, 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 any impact to income from the change in value of Time Warner stocks and the related ZENS securities.

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, 2009.  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 Wednesday, August 5, 2009, 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 nearly $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 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 appeals 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 commodity prices, particularly natural gas, the impact of unplanned facility outages, and other factors discussed in CenterPoint Energy’s and its subsidiaries’ Form 10-Ks for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008, CenterPoint Energy’s and its subsidiaries’ Form 10-Qs for the periods ended March 31, 2009, CenterPoint Energy’s Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2009, and other filings with the SEC.