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Trees weakened or damaged by extreme drought causing extended power outages
Multiple trees falling on the same major power line very common following 2011 drought

Houston - June 13, 2012 - As of 4 p.m. CenterPoint Energy has restored power to all but about 10,000 customers from Tuesday night’s storm, down from a height of nearly 150,000 last night. The remaining outages are located primarily in rural areas in northern Harris and southern Montgomery County. The vast majority of the outages were caused when strong winds in the storm system toppled large trees weakened or damaged during the 2011 drought causing them to fall onto power lines.

“In as many as 50 percent of the outage cases, we had multiple trees fall on adjoining sections of the same power line,” said David Baker, vice president of electric distribution operations for CenterPoint Energy. “Though our crews worked overnight, it was extremely difficult to locate the damage in the darkness. We appreciate our customers’ patience and we will continue to work until everyone’s power is restored. We expect the vast majority of remaining customers’ power to be restored by late tonight or early tomorrow morning.”

“Typically, we spend one to two million dollars per year removing ‘hazard trees’ or damaged trees that could impact power lines during a storm. This year, we project we will spend five to seven million dollars as a result of the drought,” he added.