CenterPoint Energy, a distributor of natural gas services in Texas, is requesting to increase monthly gas rates in Houston by approximately 3.1%-5.8%.

A public hearing was held March 27 by Houston City Council to hear the company's proposal for the gas rate increase.

What you need to know

According to the council agenda, CenterPoint is looking to raise retail gas rates in the Houston division to increase revenue by approximately $60 million.

CenterPoint serves approximately 437,564 Houston customers, including:
  • 412,350 residential customers
  • 24,357 small-commercial customers
  • 857 large-volume customers
Patrick Peters, vice president of CenterPoint Energy, said the average Houston-division customer would see a $5 increase in their monthly natural gas bill if the change is approved by council.

CenterPoint originally filed a statement of intent to change rates with the city in October. However, in December, the company made an amendment to the proposal that pushed the public hearing back to March.

The options

Alton Hall, a representative of the law firm of Adams and Reese, which represents the city of Houston, advised council to deny the rate increase.

If council votes to deny the rate increase, the case will go to the Railroad Commission of Texas for a final decision.

The Railroad Commission of Texas is the state’s regulatory agency with jurisdiction over the oil and natural gas industry.

Hall said the commission could decide to approve the rate change for CenterPoint’s originally requested $38.8 million, or a lower rate could be approved.

In case you missed it

The city of Houston recently denied another request from CenterPoint Energy in January to increase the Distribution Cost Recovery Factor rate.

According to CenterPoint Energy’s proposal, the rate increase would have helped cover the cost of the company’s ongoing investments, replacing aging infrastructure and bolstering the system to build resiliency.

Council members voted unanimously Jan. 31 to deny the increase in rates.

Stay tuned

Houston's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department will present a proposed rate ordinance to council on April 17.

Council is required to make a final determination regarding the rate request by April 26.