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CenterPoint Energy has restored power to 262,000 customers, numerous key facilities after Hurricane Ike
Company integrates first of 7,000 skilled linemen, Next news release update: 8 p.m. CST

Houston – Sept. 14, 2008 – As of noon, CenterPoint Energy has restored power to 262,000 customers and numerous key facilities. Of the 2.26 million CenterPoint Energy customers, 1.84 million customers, or 81 percent, are still without power. Customers in the southern and eastern parts of our system were hit the hardest by the storm.

CenterPoint Energy crews are working around-the-clock in two - 16 hours shifts, and the company is now integrating the first of more than 7,000 skilled workers who are continuing to arrive to assist with power restoration. 

“Our crews are known throughout the country for being the best in the business when it comes to responding after a natural disaster,” said Floyd LeBlanc, CenterPoint Energy vice president of Corporate Communications. “We’ve gone all over the country to assist other utilities in their time of need, and many of those same utilities will be helping us now. We’re working diligently to make sure every customer in our territory gets their service restored.”

At the start of the restoration phase, CenterPoint Energy crews work in their normally assigned service territory. Once all electric has been restored in their respective area, crews then move to neighboring areas where power outages still remain. Mutual assistance utility linemen and tree contractors from as far away as California and Pennsylvania are joining forces with CenterPoint Energy linemen to speed the pace of restoration.

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.

Our restoration efforts begin with:

  • Circuits, which are the backbone of 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.

CenterPoint Energy has continued to make significant progress in restoring power to priority public health and safety customers. Highlights include:

  • Restoration of service to several additional hospitals, such as Bayshore Medical Center, Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, Texas Orthopedic Hospital, Tomball Regional Medical Center and North Cypress Medical Center.  

Customers are asked NOT to call the company to report outages, but only to report emergencies such as downed power lines at 713-207-2222. Additional lines have been added to this number.

Natural Gas
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 – 1,893
  • Leaks repaired – 577
  • Leaks pending repair – 1,316

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.

For more information on CenterPoint Energy's response to the storm, visit the Storm Center on www.CenterPointEnergy.com/stormcenter. To view a map of power outages and restoration progress, visit http://www.centerpointenergy.com/staticfiles/CNP/Common/SiteAssets/doc/Ike%20outage%20map_9.14_noon.pdf

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 primarily 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 www.CenterPointEnergy.com.