Houston – Sept. 16, 2008 – CenterPoint Energy reported that as of 10 a.m., the company had restored power to 667,000 customers. Of the 2.26 million CenterPoint Energy customers, 1.49 million customers, or 66 percent, are still without power. Three thousand linemen and tree trimmers from as far away as Canada have now arrived to assist CenterPoint Energy’s around-the-clock electric restoration efforts and 4,000 more are on the way.
At this time, the company continues to ask customers NOT to call the company switchboard to report outages. 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 emergency issues only, call CenterPoint Energy’s Customer Service at 713-207-2222.
Steps Customers Can Take to Help
While crews continue to work around the clock to restore power, there are steps customers can take to help get their home ready to receive electric service.
- Protect your sensitive equipment and air conditioning units
Before power is restored unplug all sensitive equipment, such as computers and plasma televisions, and turn off your air conditioner. When power is restored to a large number of customers at once, large appliances can cause a short-term overload which may damage electric appliances. Leave one light on. Once electric service is restored, plug in small appliances, then large appliances and finally turn on your air conditioning.
- Inspect your electric meter
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.
- Stay Safe
Stay away from downed or low-hanging power lines and treat them as if they’re energized. Do not run generators in homes or in garages. Place portable generators in a well-ventilated area. Gasoline-powered generators produce carbon monoxide and the fumes can be deadly.
- Call before you dig
Digging into buried utility lines can cause serious injury or death. Before performing digging or reinstalling fences during clean-up, customers need to request that underground utility lines are marked. For your safety, you are required by law to call 811. This service will connect you with the state one call center, which will alert participating utility companies such as electric, gas, cable and phone about the planned digging so they can mark the appropriate location of their underground lines if necessary. Please be prepared for a longer than usual wait time during the next few weeks and do not dig until the lines have been marked.