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CenterPoint Energy files to change natural gas distribution rates

CenterPoint Energy filed an application with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) to change the company's natural gas distribution rates. The proposed change affects two components of the residential bill.

First, CenterPoint Energy is proposing to increase the monthly basic charge for residential customers from $8 to $15 a month and second, to decrease the delivery charge from the current $0.17127 per therm (which includes the $0.00490 per therm for the Gas Affordability Service Program) to $0.12943 per therm.

If approved, the net impact of the new rates will increase the average residential customer's bill by about $4 per month.

The filing does not apply to the cost of natural gas, which is the wholesale price the company pays for natural gas, and makes up about 60 percent of the bill.

The principal reasons CenterPoint Energy is proposing to change base rates are:

• CenterPoint Energy is making capital expenditures in its Minnesota service territory.

• Establish rate designs that send proper price signals to customers.

• Overall revenue recovery at a level that meets the company's financial objectives.

Customers will see the first change on bills on October 1 if approved by the MPUC, interim (temporary) rates are expected to take effect until a final decision is made.

If the final rates are lower than interim rates, CenterPoint Energy will refund customers the difference including interest. If final rates are higher than interim rates, customers will receive no additional charges for natural gas used while interim rates were in effect.

In 2014, public hearings will be held to provide customers and other interested parties the opportunity to comment on the rate request, followed by formal hearings at the MPUC.

For more information, call CenterPoint Energy at 1-800-245-2377 or visit