PSC Says "No" to CenterPoint's Request for Rate Increase

SEPTEMBER 20, 2005 - Posted at 7:53 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Public Service Commission has denied a request by CenterPoint Energy to raise natural gas rates in Arkansas and told the utility to cut its revenue by $11.5 million.

The ruling came after ten months of filings.  The utility says it will appeal the PSC ruling.  The appeal would first go to the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

CenterPoint had originally sought a rate increase of $34 million per year but trimmed it to less than half that sum after state auditors looked at CenterPoint's finances.

Auditors said CenterPoint violated state rules and kept poor records.

The ruling affects what CenterPoint can charge for gas transmission.  The rate for the natural gas itself is expected to be high this winter due to supply disruptions brought by Hurricane Katrina.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)