CenterPoint Energy Wants to Raise Your Rates by 14 Percent

JANUARY 17, 2007 - Posted at 7:40 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas' largest natural gas provider is seeking a residential rate increase of more than 14 percent.

Houston-based CenterPoint Energy is asking the state Public Service Commission to approve a $50.9 million-per-year increase.  The company says higher business costs are among the reasons for the request.

If approved, the residential rates would rise about $9 per month for every 5,000 cubic feet of natural gas, which is the approximate amount used by households.  Small commercial users could see rates increase between 5.3 percent and 5.7 percent per year.  Large commercial users could experience increases of 6.9 percent to 7.1 percent annually.

When CenterPoint last sought to raise base rates in November 2004, the PSC found more than $20 million in bookkeeping deficiencies, billing errors and violations of state rate-making rules.  As a result, the commission cut $11.5 million per year in annual revenue for the company.  That dropped residential rates by 3.5 percent and froze them for commercial and industrial users.

CenterPoint has about 424,000 customers in Arkansas.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)