CenterPoint Energy has rolled out its natural gas standby generator program under which participating dealers are offering Houston-area customers the ability to obtain a $500 credit on their natural gas bills for purchasing and installing a gas-fueled standby generator.

“In the Houston area, we understand that life in the Gulf Coast region includes the possibility of severe weather interrupting our electric service,” said Dan Dippon, CenterPoint southern region marketing and sales director. “If you’ve lost power for any length of time because of hurricanes, floods, extreme heat or even the rare ice storm, you can appreciate the benefits of backup power generation.”

Houston residents can visit for a list of dealers participating in the program. Once a resident purchases and installs a standby generator from one of the participating dealers, they will receive $500 off their CenterPoint Energy gas bill.

The consensus forecast is for an active hurricane season this year, with WSI Corp. (see Daily GPI, May 25), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (see Daily GPI, May 20), (see Daily GPI, April 26; April 1), Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project (see Daily GPI, June 2) and MDA EarthSat all calling for above-average numbers of named storms and hurricanes. NOAA also forecasted an above-average number of storms for the Gulf Coast. The first day of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season started right on cue last week with a small area of low pressure forming off the east coast of Florida.

CenterPoint noted that standby generators can power a whole house, including the air conditioner, or just essential circuits automatically if electric service is interrupted for any reason. The generators are fueled by a home’s natural gas service and do not require constant manual refueling like a gasoline-powered generator.

CenterPoint Energy serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

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