Texas has electricity emergency, CenterPoint begins rolling outages

Houston, February 2, 2011 — CenterPoint Energy has started planned, controlled rolling outages following an order from ERCOT to curtail delivery of power to end-use customers in its greater Houston service territory.

Beginning about 5:45 a.m., CenterPoint Energy began implementing up to 45-minute systematic outages to an average of 330,000 customers on a rotating basis.

“This is a state-wide emergency and CenterPoint Energy is complying with direct orders from ERCOT,” said Scott Prochazka, division senior vice president of CenterPoint Energy’s electric transmission and delivery operations. “Although we realize this is an inconvenience for our customers, these controlled rolling outages are planned emergency measures designed to avoid potentially longer, and more widespread power outages. We will continue these rolling outages until we receive direction from ERCOT that the electric supply in Texas has stabilized.”

CenterPoint Energy has pre-determined which circuits/power lines will be systematically brought off-line or curtailed across its entire service territory in order to achieve the load reduction requested by ERCOT.

The company’s goal is to avoid turning off circuits to facilities vital to safety, health and welfare, such as hospitals, water treatment plants and public service facilities.

ERCOT is the organization entrusted to keep electric power flowing to approximately 20 million Texas customers — representing 85 percent of the state’s electric load and about 75 percent of the Texas land area. As the Independent System Operator for Texas, ERCOT manages the scheduling of power on an electric grid.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission and distribution, natural gas distribution and sales, and interstate pipeline and gathering operations. The company serves nearly five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

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