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Keep warm; call for Cold Weather Rule protection

CenterPoint Energy reminds customers about their rights and responsibilities under the Cold Weather Rule (CWR), which protects residential customers from having their natural gas service disconnected between October 15 and April 15, 2013 if they have difficulty paying their natural gas bill.

While the CWR does not prevent customers from being disconnected for nonpayment, it does provide customers extra protection as defined in the CWR.

However, residential customers must:

--Contact CenterPoint Energy to establish a payment plan.

--Maintain their payment plan obligations.

Customers who anticipate having trouble paying their natural gas bill in full, receive a Notice of Proposed Disconnection or need service reconnected are urged to call CenterPoint Energy to establish a payment plan.

The payment plan will include what is owed, as well as the amount to be billed, and will take into consideration a customer's financial situation and any other special circumstances.

It must also be agreeable to both the customer and CenterPoint Energy. If an agreed-upon payment plan cannot be reached, customers have a right to appeal under the CWR.

Under the CWR, special payment terms are available to customers who:

--Apply for and receive Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding assistance in Minnesota.

--Meet set income guidelines by the state of Minnesota but do not receive energy assistance.

--Provide verifiable proof of income.

To set up a payment plan, call CenterPoint Energy at (612) 372-4680 or 1-800-729-6164.

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