CenterPoint Energy Foundation announces $1.5 million COVID-19 Relief Fund
Contributions to support those impacted by coronavirus
2020-04-06T05:00:00Z

Houston – April 6, 2020 – CenterPoint Energy today announced through its foundation the company will contribute $1.5 million to nonprofit organizations, agencies and causes that are committed to supporting those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. CenterPoint Energy's COVID-19 Relief Fund will include $1 million in direct contributions, as well as up to $500,000 in matching gifts for employees' contributions to qualifying 501(c)3 organizations.

"During this challenging time, the safety and well-being of CenterPoint Energy's customers, employees, contractors and communities we serve remain a top priority," said John W. Somerhalder II, interim president and chief executive officer of CenterPoint Energy. "We hope to assist the most vulnerable of our population who are experiencing significant challenges resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Through the CenterPoint Energy Foundation's contributions to local nonprofit organizations, we will strive to make a positive difference in the communities where we live and work."

Qualifying nonprofit organizations in CenterPoint Energy's utility footprint of Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas will be eligible to receive grants. Organizations that are interested in applying for a CenterPoint Energy COVID-19 Relief Fund grant should visit www.centerpointenergy.com/cnpgives.

CenterPoint Energy continues to provide additional support to customers regarding their utility service. As previously announced, the company will support customers who may need payment assistance, arrangements or extensions during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, the company has temporarily suspended natural gas service disconnections for nonpayment. For customers in southwest Indiana, this includes the temporary suspension of electric service disconnections.

Additional information about CenterPoint Energy's COVID-19 response can be found at centerpointenergy.com.

 

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CenterPoint Energy provides update on Hurricane Nicholas restoration efforts

Houston – Sept. 18, 2021 – CenterPoint Energy provided an update on its Hurricane Nicholas restoration efforts:

At the peak of this severe weather event, approximately 460,000 customers' electric service was impacted by Hurricane Nicholas in Greater Houston and surrounding areas. As of 6 p.m. CT, more than 99.9% of CenterPoint Energy's customers currently have electric service.

"We appreciate our customers' patience as we continue to work hard to restore service to every customer who is still without power," said Kenny Mercado, CenterPoint Energy's Executive Vice President, Electric Utility. "The company has had the privilege of serving Greater Houston and surrounding communities for more than 150 years, and we are committed to responding as safely and quickly as possible when severe weather causes damage to our system."

Mercado added, "From elected officials and first responders, to volunteers and neighbors who helped neighbors, we would also like to recognize the many people who answered the call during our area's time of need."

The company continues to focus on the remaining isolated outages, which in certain cases can be attributed to the storm's extensive damage to some parts of its system. In some instances, outages may be attributed to routine service issues that occur on CenterPoint Energy's system. The company will be focused on addressing both types of outages as safely and quickly as possible.

CenterPoint Energy noted that Hurricane Nicholas may have caused damage to customer-owned equipment, such as their meter box or weatherhead – the point where the line enters the home through a pipe. In those cases, customers will need to contact a qualified electrician to make sure the damage is repaired before the company is able to restore service to them. 

The company also said that its natural gas supply continues to remain reliable and stable.

"Hurricane Nicholas impacted our natural gas system, but we continue to maintain reliable service to our customers, while addressing the issues caused by the storm," said Scott Doyle, Executive Vice President, Natural Gas.

If customers smell the "rotten egg" odor of natural gas, they should immediately leave on foot, go to a safe location and call both 911 and CenterPoint Energy. In addition, before cleaning debris, digging on their property or to locate underground natural gas lines and other underground utility lines, customers should call 811, the nationwide Call Before You Dig number. 

CenterPoint Energy will continue to update customers through local media outlets, its website CenterPointEnergy.com and its social media channels, Twitter (@CNPalerts) and Facebook.

 

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CenterPoint Energy continues to make significant progress restoring power following Hurricane Nicholas

Houston – Sept. 15, 2021 – CenterPoint Energy continues to make significant progress restoring power in the Greater Houston area and surrounding communities following Hurricane Nicholas' impact earlier this week.

"We have made excellent progress so far safely restoring service to our customers who were impacted by Hurricane Nicholas, and our crews continue to work diligently and around-the-clock to address all remaining outages as safely and quickly as possible," said Kenny Mercado, Executive Vice President, Electric Utility, CenterPoint Energy. "We appreciate our customers' continued patience and understanding as we work to address the more challenging outage issues caused by the storm's extensive damage to some parts of our system."  

The company has restored service to more than 380,000 electric customers, down from a peak outage count of 460,000 at 8 a.m. CT on Sept. 14. At this time, CenterPoint Energy is down to less than 80,000 customers without power.

CenterPoint Energy electric system assessments will be completed today, and the company expects its customer outage numbers to continue to decline. CenterPoint Energy said that it expects to have the majority of the remaining customer outages restored by the end of the day. Isolated outages should be addressed by the end of this week.

In addition, mutual assistance crews will be assisting with the restoration process today.

The company noted that Hurricane Nicholas may have caused damage to customer-owned equipment, such as their meter box or weatherhead – the point where the line enters the home through a pipe. In those cases, customers will need to contact a qualified electrician to make sure the damage is repaired before the company is able to restore service to them. 

CenterPoint Energy urges customers to always stay at least 10 feet away from downed power lines and report them to the company at 713-207-2222. For latest information on power outages*:


*Please note that some outage notifications may be delayed. Due to the ongoing system assessment of damage caused by Hurricane Nicholas, estimated restoration times on Outage Tracker and Power Alert Service are not being provided at this time.

The company's natural gas system is performing well and we are continuing to address natural gas issues found during our system assessments," said Scott Doyle, Executive Vice President, Natural Gas. "Our natural gas crews will transition to assist with power restoration efforts as needed."

CenterPoint Energy provides update on Hurricane Nicholas restoration efforts
  • Power restored to nearly 300,000 customers in less than 12 hours since hurricane’s landfall
  • Natural gas system in Houston area performing well; system assessment almost completed
  • Customers’ patience appreciated as company works to restore service as safely and quickly as possible

Houston – Sept. 14, 2021 – In response to Hurricane Nicholas’ impact on its electric and natural gas systems in Greater Houston and surrounding communities, CenterPoint Energy has issued the following update on its restoration efforts:

The company has restored power to nearly 300,000 electric customers over the last 12 hours, down from a peak outage count of more than 460,000 at 8 a.m. CT this morning. Of the 2.6 million CenterPoint Energy customers in the Greater Houston area, more than 93 percent currently have power. At this time, CenterPoint Energy is down to approximately 160,000 customers without power.

“We want to thank our customers for their continued patience. We remain committed to continue our safe and efficient restoration efforts until all of our customers are back in service,” said Kenny Mercado, Executive Vice President, Electric Utility, CenterPoint Energy. “Due to the extensive damage caused by the storm, impacted customers should anticipate some outages taking as long as four to five days, with the majority restored earlier as repairs are safely completed.”

In addition to the more than 3,200 Electric Operations employees and contractors focused on the restoration work, CenterPoint Energy has confirmed 1,800 linemen and tree trimmers from their mutual assistance network and will activate four staging sites across the impacted areas. The mutual assistance resources are expected to begin work on Wednesday, with the remainder arriving on Thursday.

The restoration process begins with facilities vital to safety, health and welfare, such as hospitals, water treatment plants and public service facilities. While addressing key facilities, the company follows its priority restoration process by making repairs to electrical facilities that will return power to the largest number of customers first, then continue the restoration process by prioritizing repairs to benefit the greatest number of customers, until power is returned to everyone.

CenterPoint Energy’s natural gas system is performing well, and system assessment is almost complete.

“To help support our customers who were impacted by the storm, we have temporarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment throughout the affected region,” said Scott Doyle, Executive Vice President, Natural Gas. “Safety remains a top priority as we complete the damage assessment, customers need to call us if they smell natural gas or see a damaged line.”

For latest information on power outages*:

  • Sign up for Power Alert Service for information on individual outages; 
  • Follow @cnpalerts and visit Outage Tracker for general outage locations; and 
  • Visit CenterPointEnergy.com/StormCenter for electric and natural gas safety tips and other resources.

*Please note that some outage notifications may be delayed. Due to the ongoing system assessment of damage caused by Hurricane Nicholas, estimated restoration times on Outage Tracker and Power Alert Service are not being provided at this time.

The company urges the public to follow these important electric and natural gas safety tips:

Electric 

  • Stay away from downed power lines. Be especially mindful of downed lines that could be hidden in flood waters and treat all downed lines as if they are energized.  
  • If you experience flooding and water has risen above the electrical outlets in your home, contact a licensed electrician before turning on the main circuit breaker or trying to restore power.  
  • All electrical appliances and electronic equipment that have been submerged in water need to dry thoroughly for at least one week. Then, have them checked by a qualified repair person before turning them on. Attempting to repair a flood-damaged appliance could result in electrical shock or death. Attempting to restart it could result in further damage and costly repairs. 
  • If the outside unit of an air conditioning system has been under water, mud and water may have accumulated in the controls. Have the unit checked by a qualified air conditioning technician.  

Natural Gas 

  •  Do not turn off your natural gas service at the meter; doing so could allow water to enter the natural gas lines. 
  • Be alert for the smell of natural gas. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately and tell others to leave, too. 
  • If you smell gas, do not turn the lights on or off, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator. 
  • Do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off. Once safely away from the area, call 911 and CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786 and the company will send a trained service technician. 
  • If your home was flooded, call a licensed plumber or gas appliance technician to inspect your appliances and gas piping to make sure they are in good operating condition before calling CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service. This includes outdoor gas appliances including pool heaters, gas grills and gas lights. 
  • Before cleaning debris, digging on your property or to locate underground natural gas lines and other underground utility lines, call 811, the nationwide Call Before You Dig number. 
  • Be aware of where your natural gas meter is located. As debris is put out for heavy trash pickup, make sure it is placed away from the meter. In many areas the meter may be located near the curb. If debris is near a gas meter, the mechanized equipment used by trash collectors could pull up the meter, damaging it and causing a potentially hazardous situation. If this happens, leave the area immediately and call CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786. 

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CenterPoint Energy assessing damage, beginning to restore service following Hurricane Nicholas

Houston – Sept. 14, 2021 – In response to Hurricane Nicholas' impact on its electric and natural gas systems in Greater Houston and surrounding communities, CenterPoint Energy has issued the following update:

As of 7:30 a.m. CT, there are approximately 440,000 customers without power. The storm intensified overnight with strong sustained winds that exceeded more than 75 miles per hour and gusts over 90 miles per hour, resulting in widespread outages throughout CenterPoint Energy's service area. The most significant impact has been on the company's southern, central and eastern service areas.

  • Keep phone lines open for electric and natural gas emergency calls only
  • Estimated electric restoration times will be provided once assessments are completed
  • Natural gas system in Houston area is functioning normally
  • Gas Operations crews have begun system assessment where the storm has passed

CenterPoint Energy's crews have begun their damage assessment and service restoration process. The restoration process begins with facilities vital to safety, health and welfare, such as hospitals, water treatment plants and public service facilities. After key facilities, the company follows its priority restoration process by making repairs to electrical facilities that will return power to the largest number of customers first, then continue the restoration process by prioritizing repairs to benefit the greatest number of customers, until power is returned to everyone.

"We are committed to restoring service to our customers as safely and quickly as possible. However, patience will be important as some areas of our system and equipment may be difficult to reach for our crews due to safety-related issues, such as downed trees," said Kenny Mercado, Executive Vice President, Electric Utility of CenterPoint Energy. "Customers do not need to call us to report outages, our smart meters tell us which customers are out. We ask that everyone to please keep phone lines open for electric or natural gas emergency calls only."

In addition, CenterPoint Energy is part of electric utility mutual assistance programs that provide access to thousands of linemen and tree trimmers from around the country to support restoration efforts during widespread power outage emergencies. The company has requested mutual assistance crews to assist with restoration efforts and is prepared to activate four or more staging sites across Houston.

Scott Doyle, Executive Vice President, Natural Gas, said, "Our natural gas distribution system in the Greater Houston area is functioning normally; however, crews are responding to natural gas leak calls primarily due to toppled trees which have uprooted gas lines.

"Customers need to call us if they smell natural gas or see a damaged line," he added. "Gas Operations crews have begun system assessment system where the storm has passed and it's safe to do so."

For latest information on power outages*:

*Please note that some outage notifications may be delayed. Due to the unpredictable nature of Hurricane Nicholas, estimated restoration times on Outage Tracker and Power Alert Service are not being provided at this time.

The company urges the public to follow these important electric and natural gas safety tips:

Electric  

  • Stay away from downed power lines. Be especially mindful of downed lines that could be hidden in flood waters and treat all downed lines as if they are energized.   
  • If you experience flooding and water has risen above the electrical outlets in your home, contact a licensed electrician before turning on the main circuit breaker or trying to restore power.   
  • All electrical appliances and electronic equipment that have been submerged in water need to dry thoroughly for at least one week. Then, have them checked by a qualified repair person before turning them on. Attempting to repair a flood-damaged appliance could result in electrical shock or death. Attempting to restart it could result in further damage and costly repairs.  
  • If the outside unit of an air conditioning system has been under water, mud and water may have accumulated in the controls. Have the unit checked by a qualified air conditioning technician.  

Natural Gas  

  • Do not turn off your natural gas service at the meter; doing so could allow water to enter the natural gas lines.  
  • Be alert for the smell of natural gas. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately and tell others to leave, too.  
  • If you smell gas, do not turn the lights on or off, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.  
  • Do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off. Once safely away from the area, call 911 and CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786 and the company will send a trained service technician.
  • If your home was flooded, call a licensed plumber or gas appliance technician to inspect your appliances and gas piping to make sure they are in good operating condition before calling CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service. This includes outdoor gas appliances including pool heaters, gas grills and gas lights.
  • Before cleaning debris, digging on your property or to locate underground natural gas lines and other underground utility lines, call 811, the nationwide Call Before You Dig number.
  • Be aware of where your natural gas meter is located. As debris is put out for heavy trash pickup, make sure it is placed away from the meter. In many areas the meter may be located near the curb. If debris is near a gas meter, the mechanized equipment used by trash collectors could pull up the meter, damaging it and causing a potentially hazardous situation. If this happens, leave the area immediately and call CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786.
CenterPoint Energy announces new Minnesota leader

Minneapolis, Sept. 13, 2021 – CenterPoint Energy today announced that Christe Singleton is the new leader of Minnesota's largest natural gas utility.

As Vice President-Minnesota Gas, Singleton is responsible for all aspects of CenterPoint Energy's natural gas distribution operations in Minnesota, serving 890,000 residential and business customers in more than 260 communities.

She succeeds Brad Tutunjian, who has relocated to Houston as CenterPoint Energy's Vice President, Electric Distribution Operations and Service Delivery.

With more than 30 years of utility industry experience with CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies, Singleton has held several leadership roles in construction, operations, compliance, customer service and the Home Service Plus repair and sales business. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Gas Operations for the company's natural gas distribution systems in Louisiana and Mississippi.

A Minnesota native, Singleton is a board member of the Utilization Technology Development with Gas Technology Institute. She has a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and a master's degree in business administration from Augsburg College.