Houston – Sept. 14, 2008 – As of 8 p.m., CenterPoint Energy has restored power to 380,000 customers and numerous key facilities. Of the 2.26 million CenterPoint Energy customers, 76 percent are still without power. Crews restored power in neighborhoods across the region with the highest percentage of restoration occurring in western and northwestern sections of Houston. Crews have completed power restoration in the Katy, Richmond and Rosenberg areas and have moved to other neighboring areas to help restore electric service.
CenterPoint Energy restored power to several priority customers. Service was re-established to Hobby Airport and Ellington Field as well as several hospitals, including Riverside General Hospital, Kingwood Medical Center, Memorial Hermann Humble (MHHS), Clear Creek Medical Center, HCA Spring Branch Medical Center, University General Hospital, San Jacinto Methodist Hospital, MHHS Northeast, Medical Center Hospital.
How CenterPoint Energy prioritizes restoration
After performing an initial damage assessment, including aerial surveys and on the ground inspections, the company focuses on repairs that will restore power to the greatest number of customers in the shortest amount of time.
Repairs begin with circuits, which are the backbone of the distribution system. Repairing these main feeder lines can affect 1,000 customers or more.
Line fuses are repaired next. Typically 100 or more customers are served behind line fuses.
Transformers are the third level of the restoration process. Replacing or repairing transformers will typically restore power to 10 or fewer customers.
Individual drops serve single homes. These repairs are the last stage of the restoration process.
What customers can do to help
The company continues to ask customers NOT to call the company to report outages, but only to report emergencies such as downed power lines at 713-207-2222.
“While crews continue to work around the clock to restore power, we want to advise customers of some important preparations that they can make to have their home ready to receive electric service,” said Floyd LeBlanc, CenterPoint Energy’s vice president of Corporate Communications.
“CenterPoint Energy will make repairs to the electric delivery system up to the point where it connects to a home or business. However, the customer is responsible for repairs if there is damage to the meter enclosure or weatherhead – the point where the line enters the home through a pipe. If the meter enclosure or weatherhead is damaged, our crews will not be able to re-establish service. If in doubt, homeowners should contact a licensed electrician to make an inspection and any necessary repairs,” LeBlanc added.
Also, while CenterPoint Energy will cut trees and limbs away from power lines and the electric service drops to the homes, homeowners are responsible for the removal of debris left by tree trimming crews who are assisting with power restoration efforts.
As expected, the number of leaks being reported is increasing as people return home. Our field crews are working to reduce these numbers, and additional resources will be arriving from other CenterPoint Energy service territories and from other utilities. The following is a summary of the status report:
Leaks reported – 2,587
Leaks repaired – 1,775
Leaks pending repair – 803
Natural gas safety tips
Be alert for the smell of natural gas. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately and tell others to leave too. Many areas are inaccessible or extremely difficult for company employees to access so it’s important to leave the area and call CenterPoint Energy from a safe, remote location and to be patient.
Do not smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that might cause a spark, including a flashlight or a generator.
Do not attempt to turn natural gas valves on or off. Once safely away from the area, call 713-659-2111 or 888-876-5786 and CenterPoint Energy will send a trained service technician immediately.
The company’s 5,000 square-mile electric service territory suffered widespread damage as a result of 100-mile-per-hour winds, and trees and wind-blown debris on power lines. Patience will continue to be a key factor. Customers should be prepared to be without power for an extended period of time depending on the damage to the facilities that serve them.
For more information on CenterPoint Energy's response to the storm, visit the Storm Center at CenterPointEnergy.com/stormcenter
To view a map of power outages and restoration progress, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/staticfiles/CNP/Common/SiteAssets/doc/Ike%20outage%20map_9.14_8pm.pdf. Outage and restoration updates are available at CenterPointEnergy.com/newsroom/stormcenter/ike/outages
CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP), headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, and interstate pipelines and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primary ily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total approximately $18 billion. With about 8,600 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 130 years. For more information, visit the Web site at CenterPointEnergy.com.