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Meeting to discuss natural gas rates

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) is holding a series of public hearings to hear what customers have to say about CenterPoint Energy's proposed rate increase.

CenterPoint Energy has asked the MPUC for permission to increase its natural gas rates. If approved by the MPUC, the proposed new rates will result in an overall increase in revenue of $59.8 million, or approximately 4 percent annually.

The amount of increase for individual customers will depend on whether you are a residential, small business or some other customer classification and how much natural gas you typically use.

The MPUC is expected to make its decision in January 2010.

Public hearings have been scheduled so that customers may have an opportunity to present their views regarding CenterPoint Energy's recently filed natural gas retail rate case (MPUC Docket No. G008/GR-08-1075 and OAH Docket No. 12-2500-20147-2).

Any CenterPoint Energy customer or other person may attend to provide comments at the hearings. You are invited to comment on the adequacy and quality of CenterPoint Energy's service, the level of rates or other related matters.

You do not need to be represented by an attorney. CenterPoint Energy customers are strongly encouraged to attend one of these hearings.

In Alexandria, a meeting is set for Thursday, July 23 at 6 p.m. at the Alexandria Technical College, 1601 Jefferson Street, Auditorium 205 (the main building).

Written comments may be sent to Administrative Law Judge Steve M. Mihalchick, Office of Administrative Hearings, PO Box 64620, St. Paul, MN 55164-0620. Comments must be received by August 14, 2009.

Written comments are most effective, according to the MPUC, when the following items are included: The issue in CenterPoint Energy's proposal you are addressing; your specific recommendations; and the reason for your recommendations. Make sure to reference docket number OAH 12-2500-20147-2 and MPUC docket number G008/GR-08-1075 in all correspondence.

All comments become part of the official record in this case and are considered public information.