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CenterPoint Energy increases quarterly dividend 14.5% to 23.75 cents per share

HOUSTON, Jan. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CenterPoint Energy, Inc.'s. (NYSE: CNP) board of directors today declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.2375 per share of common stock payable on March 10, 2014, to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 14, 2014. This represents a 14.5 percent increase from the previous quarterly dividend of $0.2075, and if annualized, would equate to $0.95 per share.

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CenterPoint Energy's objective is to provide a quarterly cash dividend that is supported by the long-term stability and growth of its regulated utility operations combined with the growth of its significant interest in the distributable cash flow from Enable Midstream Partners. The company's intention is to target a payout of 60 to 70 percent of sustainable earnings from its regulated utility operations and 90 to 100 percent of the net after-tax cash distributions it receives from Enable Midstream Partners.

"This significant dividend increase demonstrates our commitment to our shareholders and our confidence in the underlying growth prospects for both our regulated utility earnings and our cash distributions from Enable Midstream Partners," said Scott M. Prochazka, president and chief executive officer of CenterPoint Energy. "We have now increased our dividend for nine consecutive years and by 138 percent over that period. We believe we are well positioned to continue our objective of annual dividend increases."    

"The board's decision today allows CenterPoint Energy to increase significantly its dividend without sacrificing our on-going high levels of capital investment in our regulated utilities and the maintenance of the strong credit metrics we currently enjoy," said Gary L. Whitlock, CenterPoint Energy chief financial officer.

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution and competitive natural gas sales and services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. The company also owns a 58.3 percent limited partner interest in Enable Midstream Partners, a partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp. with operations in major natural gas and liquids producing areas of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Dakota. With more than 8,700 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. For more information, visit the website at www.CenterPointEnergy.com.

This news release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual events and results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Any statements in this news release regarding CenterPoint Energy's future dividends, capital plans and credit metrics or other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement contained in this news release speaks only as of Jan. 20, 2014. The amount of any future quarterly dividends will be subject to determination based upon CenterPoint Energy's results of operations and financial condition, its future business prospects, any applicable contractual restrictions and other factors that its board of directors considers relevant and will be declared at the discretion of its board of directors. Factors that could affect CenterPoint Energy's actual results and financial condition include (1) state and federal legislative and regulatory actions or developments affecting various aspects of CenterPoint Energy's businesses (including the businesses of its midstream partnership with OGE Energy Corp. and affiliates of ArcLight Capital Partners, LLC (Enable)), including, among others, energy deregulation or re-regulation, pipeline integrity and safety, health care reform, financial reform, tax legislation, and actions regarding the rates charged by CenterPoint Energy's regulated businesses; (2) state and federal legislative and regulatory actions or developments relating to the environment, including those related to global climate change; (3) timely and appropriate rate actions that allow recovery of costs and a reasonable return on investment; (4) the timing and outcome of any audits, disputes or other proceedings related to taxes; (5) problems with construction, implementation of necessary technology or other issues with respect to major capital projects that result in delays or in cost overruns that cannot be recouped in rates; (6) industrial, commercial and residential growth in CenterPoint Energy's service territories and changes in market demand, including the effects of energy efficiency measures and demographic patterns; (7) the timing and extent of changes in commodity prices, particularly natural gas and natural gas liquids, and the effects of geographic and seasonal commodity price differentials; (8) weather variations and other natural phenomena, including the impact of severe weather events on operations and capital; (9) any direct or indirect effects on CenterPoint Energy's facilities, operations and financial condition resulting from terrorism, cyber-attacks, data security breaches or other attempts to disrupt its businesses or the businesses of third parties, or other catastrophic events; (10) the impact of unplanned facility outages; (11) timely and appropriate regulatory actions allowing securitization or other recovery of costs associated with any future hurricanes or natural disasters; (12) changes in interest rates or rates of inflation; (13) commercial bank and financial market conditions, CenterPoint Energy's access to capital, the cost of such capital, and the results of its financing and refinancing efforts, including availability of funds in the debt capital markets; (14) actions by credit rating agencies; (15) effectiveness of CenterPoint Energy's risk management activities; (16) inability of various counterparties to meet their obligations; (17) non-payment for services due to financial distress of CenterPoint Energy's customers; (18) the ability of GenOn Energy, Inc. (formerly known as RRI Energy, Inc.), a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., and its subsidiaries to satisfy their obligations to CenterPoint Energy and its subsidiaries; (19) the ability of retail electric providers, and particularly the two largest customers of the TDU, to satisfy their obligations to CenterPoint Energy and its subsidiaries; (20) the outcome of litigation brought by or against CenterPoint Energy or its subsidiaries; (21) CenterPoint Energy's ability to control costs; (22) the investment performance of pension and postretirement benefit plans; (23) potential business strategies, including restructurings, joint ventures, and acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, for which no assurance can be given that they will be completed or will provide the anticipated benefits to CenterPoint Energy; (24) acquisition and merger activities involving CenterPoint Energy or its competitors; (25) future economic conditions in regional and national markets and their effects on sales, prices and costs; (26)  the performance of Enable, the amount of cash distributions CenterPoint Energy receives from Enable, and the value of its interest in Enable, and factors that may have a material impact on such performance, cash distributions and value, including certain of the factors specified above and: (A) the integration of the operations of the businesses contributed to Enable with those contributed by OGE and ArcLight; (B) the achievement of anticipated operational and commercial synergies and expected growth opportunities, and the successful implementation of Enable's business plan; (C) competitive conditions in the midstream industry, and actions taken by the Enable's customers and competitors, including the extent and timing of the entry of additional competition in the markets served by Enable; (D) the timing and extent of changes in commodity prices, particularly natural gas and natural gas liquids, the competitive effects of the available pipeline capacity in the regions served by Enable, and the effects of geographic and seasonal commodity price differentials, including the effects of these circumstances on re-contracting available capacity on Enable's interstate pipelines; (E) the demand for natural gas, NGLs and transportation and storage services; (F) changes in tax status; (G) access to growth capital; (H) the availability and prices of raw materials for current and future construction projects; (I) the timing and terms of Enable's planned initial public offering, the actual consummation of which is subject to market conditions, regulatory requirements and other factors; and (27) other factors discussed in CenterPoint Energy's Form 10-K for the period ended Dec. 31, 2012, as well as in CenterPoint Energy's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarterly periods ended March 31, June 30, and Sept. 30, 2013, and other reports CenterPoint Energy or its subsidiaries may file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For more information contact
Leticia Lowe
Phone      713.207.7702
Carla Kneipp
Phone      713.207.6500

SOURCE CenterPoint Energy, Inc.

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