Houston – Sept. 13, 2008 (11:15 a.m.) – As Hurricane Ike approached Galveston Island on Friday, Sept. 12, CenterPoint Energy’s customers began to experience power outages. As of 11 a.m., on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2.1 million of CenterPoint Energy’s 2.26 million customers were without power. Most of this widespread damage was caused by intense wind that blew toppled trees, broken branches and fallen debris onto power lines.
CenterPoint Energy knows the location of the power outages and requests customers call only to report safety concerns, such as downed power lines or natural gas leaks. CenterPoint Energy crews are ready to respond to any gas emergencies resulting from Hurricane Ike.
“The impact of Hurricane Ike on our service territory has been extensive and widespread, affecting more than 90 percent of our customers, which is the largest power outage event in our company’s more than 130-year history,” said Kenny Mercado, division senior vice president of CenterPoint Energy’s Electric Operations. “While service remains available to the Texas Medical Center, downtown Houston and Bush Intercontinental Airport, most of the rest of our service territory is currently without power.
“As the storm leaves our territory, we are beginning to assess the damage to our transmission and distribution systems, and more than 7,000 mutual assistance skilled personnel will begin arriving Sunday to help. However, we anticipate it will take four weeks or longer for restoration to be complete, and we may need to request additional assistance from other utilities,” Mercado added.
CenterPoint Energy’s Emergency Operations Plan is designed to efficiently restore electric service in an orderly and timely manner. The company’s first priority is addressing downed power lines and restoring service to key facilities vital to safety, health and welfare, such as hospitals, water treatment plants and public service facilities, such as fire and police stations. Then, the company repairs those major lines that will restore power to the greatest number of customers in the shortest amount of time.
Mercado also advised customers and emergency responders that they should stay away from downed power lines and assume that they are energized.
Customers, again, are asked NOT to call the company switchboard to report outages, but only to report emergencies such as downed power lines. Through the company's outage analysis system and ties between the customer information system and call center operations, CenterPoint Energy dispatchers know when service outages occur, the locations of outages and the number of customers affected. For safety issues only, call CenterPoint Energy’s Customer Service at 713-207-2222.
For more information on CenterPoint Energy's response to the storm, visit the Storm Center on www.CenterPointEnergy.com/stormcenter.
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.