CenterPoint Energy Streamlines GHG Management to Meet New Regulatory Compliance, Voluntary Reporting Goals

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Courtesy of IHS

CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines and field services operations. Since its launch as a stand-alone company in 2002, the company has been committed to the highest-quality energy delivery, while operating in an environmentally responsible manner. Its leadership team is intent on ensuring that their facilites are in compliance with current regulations and that their management team is actively partnering with other organizations in the development of future environmental laws and industry best practice guidelines.

In 2010, CenterPoint Energy stepped up to address one especially critical environmental management challenge facing US energy companies – global climate change. The company’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Program team began implementation of an enteprise-level Environmental Management System (EMS) that is significantly enhancing their ability to maintain compliance with mandatory government regulations as well as voluntary sustainability reporting.

CenterPoint Energy had previously managed its environmental reporting processes with hundreds of spreadsheets that were separately developed and maintained at its many facilities. But, to meet more rigorous information management demands imposed by a new generation of regulations, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule (MRR), and voluntary reporting to non-governmental organizations such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), senior managers realized that complying with these complex new requirements using spreadsheets would be inefficient and potentially risky.

CenterPoint Energy experts evaluated leading systems on the market and selected IHS Essential Suite software – part of the IHS Environmental Performance Solution – to serve as the foundation for the company’s EMS.

“We have come a long way in the last two and a half years. All of our records – including permits, emission limits, compliance deadlines, equipment – are now easily accessible in the system. We also have all of the compliance-related tasks associated with those permits and the regulatory citations that apply to those tasks. Everything is much better organized than it was before,” said William Manwaring, Manager of CenterPoint Energy’s GHG Program and project manager for the EMS implementation. “This is the first year we are fullfilling all of our GHG reporting requirements straight out of our EMS system and it is a huge success. We are reducing 2-3 months of work – the entire process of gathering the data, doing QA/QC, running the reports and getting it over into the EPA’s system for MRR – down into a 2 week period. That is a tremendous time savings. Now we are taking the same approach to address other air emissions regulations.”

The Challenge

  • Ensure compliance with new regulations, including US EPA Mandatory Reporting Rule
  • Improve efficiency of GHG and other air emissions tracking/reporting work processes
  • Provide GHG emissions metrics to company management for voluntary public reporting

The Solution

  • IHS Environmental Performance Solution with IHS Essential Suite and IHS CyberRegs

The Results

  • Established centralized EMS that eliminates the need for 100s of disparate spreadsheets
  • Reduced time required for greenhouse gas reporting from 2-3 months to 2 weeks
  • Provided GHG metrics for corporate annual report and Carbon Disclosure Project
  • Mitigated risk of noncompliance with automated alerts that provide notification when permit limits are approached
  • Set stage for additional 2-3 months of time savings for all air emissions reporting
  • Enabled data entry via mobile devices, facilitating a single point of data entry and improving data integrity

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