Houston – Sept. 13, 2008 – As of 8 p.m., CenterPoint Energy has restored power to 112,000 customers, primarily in the western portion of its service territory, in the first eight hours of the recovery effort. Of the 2.26 million CenterPoint Energy customers, 1.99 million are still without power.
The company’s electric system suffered widespread damage as a result of 100-mile-per-hour winds and trees and wind-blown debris on power lines. Highlights of the first day include:
- Restoration of the Coastal Water Authority Lynchburg water pumping station, a major source of water for the City of Houston and other smaller communities in the area
- Service restoration for one water treatment facility and one wastewater treatment plant in the City of Houston
- Restoration of service to hospitals such as the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in the Texas Medical Center; Memorial Herman Hospital, Memorial City; and the Heart Institute in Clear Lake City
- Inspections by company personnel of electric substations on Galveston island, with a goal of restoring service to the University of Texas Medical Branch as soon as possible
- Company damage assessment experts flew over the area conducting aerial surveys and documenting damage.
CenterPoint Energy crews are working around the clock and are ready to integrate the first of more than 7,000 skilled workers who are coming to Houston beginning on Sunday to assist with power restoration.
Patience will continue to be a key factor. Customers need to be prepared to be without power for up to four weeks and possibly longer depending on the severity of the damage. Customers need to keep in mind that CenterPoint Energy crews will have limited access to some areas due to flooding and debris.
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.
- 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.
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.