Houston-based natural gas and electric utility CenterPoint Energy on Monday unveiled a plan to reduce operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 70% by 2035, in comparison to 2005 levels.

The company also said it plans to reduce “emissions attributable to natural gas usage in heating, appliances and equipment within the residential and commercial sectors” by 20-30% by 2040, again in comparison with 2005.

CenterPoint “is in the process of compiling its collective reductions against 2005 levels following the merger with Vectren, a CenterPoint Energy company,” a spokesperson told NGI. “More detail supporting those emission reduction efforts will be shared in the forthcoming corporate responsibility report.”

CenterPoint, whose base of metered natural gas and electric customers totals more than 7 million across eight states, said it “is among the first energy delivery companies to make an emissions-reduction commitment across a multi-state footprint.”

Others include New England utility Eversource Energy, which operates in four states and recently agreed to acquire Columbia Gas of Massachusetts for $1.1 billion, and has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations by 2030.

CenterPoint “has a long history of environmental commitment, and we are proud to be a leader in the transition to a cleaner energy future,” said CEO John W. Somerhalder II. “Further reductions in our carbon footprint aligns with this commitment…”

CenterPoint said it would focus on conservation and energy efficiency programs, alternative fuel programs, collaboration with suppliers to lower their methane emissions and piloting and supporting innovation.

“There are significant benefits to transitioning to cleaner energy beyond just environmental,” said CenterPoint’s Angila Retherford, vice president of environmental affairs and corporate sustainability, adding that decarbonization efforts can lead to good-paying, green jobs.

CenterPoint said it has invested in “infrastructure modernization, as well as research and development projects in recent years to reduce emissions, including carbon capture technology, the piloting of renewable natural gas and improved methods for identifying and eliminating methane leaks. These technologies span the lifecycle of natural gas and other energy production, from extraction to consumer use and beyond.”

CenterPoint said it also would seek to provide more consumer choice for alternative transportation fuels and expanding electric vehicle infrastructure in Texas and Indiana.

The announcement comes as a growing number of municipalities, particularly in states such as California and New York, have laid the groundwork for phasing out natural gas entirely from new buildings.