CenterPoint posts profits for first quarter

Houston-based CenterPoint Energy, Texas’ monopoly gas and electric distributor, said on Friday that its profits rose in the first quarter, even as the company has asked for gas utility and electricity rate hikes to cover expenses.

CenterPoint reported a profit of $192 million, or 44 cents per share, over the first quarter of 2017, as compared to a profit of $154 million, or 36 cents per share, over the same period last year.

In April, CenterPoint proposed an electricity rate increase, which would help the company recoup $480 million it spent on transmission in 2016. That increase would add at least 80 cents for 1,000 kilowatt-hours used a month for all CenterPoint customers.

CenterPoint also requested a rate hike to cover $16.5 million spent on its natural gas distribution business. The bill of an average customer using 3,400 cubic feet of gas a month in Houston would rise by $1.23 a month by mid-2017.