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Stories of Harvey

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey brought a record-breaking 51.88 inches of rainfall to Southeast Texas — followed by a long road to recovery.

At CenterPoint Energy, we witnessed ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help Houston recover — and that's why we're proud to be a part of the Houston Chronicle Heroes of Harvey series.

To our customers, we want to say thank you for your patience, your understanding and for the kindness you showed our crews. We'd also like to thank our employees for their extraordinary efforts, including restoring natural gas and electric service to over 1.27 million customers.

We're proud to be a part of this thriving community. And, in the coming weeks, we'd like to show you how we continue to support the home we all love.

Thank you for working with us to rebuild our great city. Together, we are Houston Strong.

Diving in to Protect Beaumont

With floodwaters and strong currents causing the Neches River to rush with damaging debris, a severed underwater natural gas pipeline led to a series of quick decisions by our Beaumont team.
Phase: Preparation Sept 1-26

Taking Communication by Storm

As rising floodwaters overtook homes, businesses and equipment, see how our team pulled out all the stops to ensure Houstonians had the vital information they needed.
Phase: Preparation Aug 28-Sept 3

Combating Ever-Rising Water and Worry

As we get ready for our annual company-wide emergency operations drill, explore the safety measures our electric and natural gas crews took to ensure community safety during Harvey.
Phase: Preparation Aug 26-Sept 1

Rising to the 1,000-Year Occasion

As the affected areas experienced flash flooding, lightning, tornadoes and more devastation, read how our customer service team jumped into action.
Phase: Preparation Aug 24-Sept 8

5 Days. 500 Miles. Invaluable Results.

With 1,000 times more sensitivity than traditional technology, the Picarro Surveyor played a crucial role in detecting natural gas leaks following the storm. Learn how.
Phase: Preparation Aug 25-Sept 5

CenterPoint Energy Crews: Go!

After Harvey made landfall, see how we acted quickly to protect the public by securing the natural gas system.
Phase: Preparation Aug 25-28

From In the Dark to In the Know

Are you enrolled in Power Alert Service®? Find out how this free service kept our customers informed before, during and after Harvey.
Phase: Preparation Aug 22-24

Coming Soon:

Gaining a New Perspective on Harvey

See how, for the very first time, CenterPoint Energy deployed new technologies on a massive scale that not only helped keep communities safer, but also turn the tide of dangerous floodwaters.
Phase: Preparation

Diving in to Protect Beaumont

September 1-26, 2017

Exceptional Customer Service for You, Then and Now

Just east of Houston, Harvey also inundated Beaumont, making nearly every road in the area impassable. CenterPoint Energy took extraordinary measures to help ensure the safety of homes and businesses – 18 employees even slept at the local office to accelerate responses for customers.

Heavy currents and debris severed one of Beaumont’s main natural gas supply pipelines below the surface of the Neches River. The team knew that this line serves two industrial customers, employing hundreds of workers. The leak could also impact area residents and local wildlife.

As waters continued to rise, the team jumped into action. Together with the City and Port of Beaumont, they organized divers and boats from Beaumont’s Emergency Management team to quickly shut down the pipe before the leak could affect surrounding waters. It was a dramatic example of how teamwork, ingenuity and commitment helped keep Beaumont’s economy flowing.

Learn More

 

September 1-2, 2017

Below the surface of the Neches River, a severed 16-inch pipeline threatens local industry. CenterPoint Energy recognizes that long-term damage could shut businesses down and jobs with it. They work with Beaumont’s Emergency Management team to quickly make the needed repair.

Safely Salvaging a Pipeline

Safely Salvaging a Pipeline
A remote methane leak detector (RMCD) was mounted on a drone to check methane levels in the Neches River while divers shut off the pipeline’s valve underwater.

 

September 4-7, 2017

Fifteen technicians from Huntsville, Lufkin and Mount Pleasant assist 24 Beaumont service technicians to respond to emergency natural gas orders.

 
people

PEOPLE

Photos from the Beaumont office during the storm.

Always, Always There®
What was it like for the team who slept eight nights at our Beaumont office? Here are behind-the scenes photos of their accommodations as they worked tirelessly to respond to natural gas emergencies.

 

September 26, 2017

Recognizing the collaboration with the Beaumont Emergency Management team, CenterPoint Energy donates $50,000 to the City of Beaumont.

 
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How it works

Understanding Natural Gas Pipelines Infographic
Understanding Natural Gas Pipelines Infographic

Understanding Natural Gas Pipelines
Believe it or not, you use energy delivered via pipelines from the time your alarm goes off in the morning until you fall asleep at night. Curious to know how they work? The diagram above shows how natural gas gets to your home or business.

NOW:

We’ll continue enhancing the reliability of our natural gas pipeline system for residential, commercial and industrial customers while preserving the environment – no matter what it takes.

Taking Communication by Storm

August 28 - September 3, 2017

Exceptional Customer Service for You, Then and Now

Although Harvey’s rain finally subsided after several torrential days, the danger did not. Floodwaters continued to rise, submerging homes and businesses and taking 17 electric substations out of service. Still, our employees did everything in their power to deliver answers to customers’ questions and assistance to Houstonians in need.

Through community-level communications across Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor and Power Alert Service® text messages, CenterPoint Energy reached over a million people with important news and updates. We also fielded nearly half a million calls and responded to more than 8,000 important questions from customers on social media — including power and natural gas restoration information, which helped them decide when to return home and reopen businesses. And to help communities stay educated and informed, hundreds of employee ambassadors shared personalized power and safety updates with friends, family and neighbors.

Learn More

 

August 28, 2017

To offset the potential of reservoir failure, water is released from West Houston reservoirs — only to cause more flooding and evacuations.

Flooding in West Houston

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released around 800 cubic feet of water per second from Addicks and Barker Dams.

 

August 29, 2017

Residents of Brazoria and Fort Bend counties are forced to evacuate following flooding from the Brazos River.

 

PEOPLE

Ericka and Latoya from the Social Care Team

Social media communication
“Our crews tell us how much they appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to restore service to homes and businesses. This is our home too, and we’re hard at work to help things return to normal as quickly as we can.” - Ericka and Latoya

 

PEOPLE

CNP Lineman Tony Olivias and Family

Around-the-clock dedication
Tony Olivas, journeyman lineman, was one of the many employees on the front lines during Hurricane Harvey. We asked about the toughest challenge he faced while working to restore power.

"We couldn’t do a lot at our facilities until the water subsided. So, they brought in airboats from Louisiana. There we were, literally floating on Buffalo Bayou on airboats, trying to get to the main circuit. It was crazy. Then, once the water began to recede and seeing those houses my heart just goes out to the people there."

 

September 1-3, 2017

CenterPoint Energy’s Vice President of Customer Services, David Baker, and Director of Electric Safety and Training, Al Payton, shared videos answering frequently asked questions and promoting electric and natural gas safety tips.

NOW:

CenterPoint Energy continues to improve customer communications by expanding our use of personal channels such as social media and Power Alert Service®, as well as employee ambassadors to help customers stay educated and engaged. For news and advice targeted to your specific community during a hurricane, find your service area at: CenterPointEnergy.com/StormCenter

Combating Ever-Rising Water and Worry

August 26 - September 1, 2017

Exceptional Customer Service for You, Then and Now

As Harvey lingered over Houston, it became clear that the damage wasn’t from wind alone, but from something even more dangerous: water. Bayous continued to rise, bridges became impassable and water submerged 53,000 CenterPoint Energy natural gas meters.

While natural gas meters can operate safely under water, it certainly isn’t normal — and floating debris could cause harm. So as the water receded, we immediately dispatched crews to inspect 130,016 meters and quickly identify any damaged equipment. Additional teams followed to make emergency repairs.

Ensuring the safety and well-being of the communities we serve is one of our company’s core values. As the rain began to subside, our electric and natural gas teams continued to work around the clock to restore and repair vital services.

Learn More

 

August 26-30, 2017

Harvey remained a named storm longer than any hurricane to ever hit Texas. Slow-moving, its center of circulation drifts east and water continues to rise to record levels. Unsung heroes begin rescuing many people trapped in their homes.

 

August 28-September 8, 2017

CenterPoint Energy deploys crews from Arkansas, Louisiana and North Texas to help Houston crews assess damage to gas meters and restore service.

 

September 1, 2017

CenterPoint Energy continues to monitor its own employees’ well-being. We create the Employees 1st Fund, allowing employees to contribute to other employees in need.

NOW:

Today starts National Hurricane Preparedness Week. This week, CenterPoint Energy will conduct our annual company-wide emergency operations drill. You can also prepare with our pre-hurricane checklist by visiting:

CenterPointEnergy.com/StormSafety

Rising to the 1,000-Year Occasion

August 24 - September 5, 2017

Exceptional Customer Service for You, Then and Now

As Harvey descended on Houston, dangerous conditions escalated quickly. Flash-flood and high water warnings, 42,000 lightning strikes and tornadoes occurred, trapping many in their homes or forcing them to abandon their vehicles.

To help ensure that our teams could work safely throughout the storm, CenterPoint Energy provided hotel rooms for customer service, natural gas and electric power crews near offices and staging sites.

Our Power Alert Service® helped us keep customers informed of their electricity status, from outage to restoration. Then, a pause in the storm shifted everyone’s attention to the dangers of long-term flooding that would soon follow.

Learn More

 

August 24-September 8, 2017

CenterPoint Energy provides hotel rooms for its customer service, natural gas and electric power crews supporting restoration and customer communication efforts.

 

August 26, 2017

Harvey drenches Greater Houston with torrential rainfall, causing catastrophic flooding.

 

August 26-September 5, 2017

CenterPoint Energy keeps Houston customers informed of power outages through various channels, including 484,435 calls to its contact center and 352,629 Power Alert Service® notifications.

NOW:

The best way to prepare for a major storm is to plan ahead. Our Power Alert Service® can automatically send alerts for up to 15 friends and family. It’s free, and the service is available to anyone whose electricity is delivered by CenterPoint Energy.

To enroll or update your contact list, visit: CenterPointEnergy.com/PowerAlertService

5 Days. 500 Miles. Invaluable Results.

August 25 - September 5, 2017

Investing in Safety Technology for You, Then and Now

Producing 130-mile-an-hour winds and a 13-foot storm surge, Hurricane Harvey swept through with unrelenting force – stretching from Aransas Pass to Port Lavaca. With the area reduced to wreckage, many wondered how – or if – they would return to the place they called home.

CenterPoint Energy dispatched dozens of crews to thoroughly inspect its natural gas assets for damage along the Texas Coastal Bend. To help our efforts, we used the Picarro Surveyor, a vehicle-mounted natural gas leak detection system that is 1,000 times more sensitive than traditional technology. Over five days, CenterPoint Energy crews drove our Picarro-equipped vehicles more than 500 miles, searching for even the smallest gas leaks in order to prevent them from becoming a problem.

Hurricane Harvey’s path continued to move up the coast toward Houston, accompanied by record-shattering amounts of rain.

Learn More

 

August 25, 2017

Hurricane Harvey leaves the Texas Coastal Bend devastated with roofs ripped off homes and businesses, windows shattered and widespread debris.

 

August 26, 2017

CenterPoint Energy dispatches dozens of crews to inspect damage from Aransas Pass to Victoria.

 

September 1-5, 2017

Our Picarro Surveyor scans the area for natural gas leaks, detecting down to one part per billion and pinpointing actual leak locations.

NOW:

CenterPoint Energy’s investments in cutting-edge technology like the Picarro Surveyor help us realize one of our most important values: providing safe, reliable natural gas in the communities we serve.

We continue to invest in systems and technology to improve our services. To see how we use high-performance technology to keep you and your family safer, view our video showing the Picarro Surveyor in action, and learn how you can quickly recognize a natural gas leak at: CenterPointEnergy.com/IDLeaks

CenterPoint Energy Crews: Go!

August 25-28, 2017

Reliable Service Across Texas for You, Then and Now

As Hurricane Harvey amassed power, the country turned its eyes to the Corpus Christi area. Residents frantically boarded up their homes to get ready for lashing winds – as ready as one could get under such conditions. And then, it happened.

Making landfall on August 25, Harvey wreaked havoc throughout Port Aransas and the surrounding area, causing damage of historic proportions. With a service area that spans most of the Texas coast and well beyond, CenterPoint Energy activated crews from across Texas and nearby states, and moved in to provide support as soon as it was safe to do so.

CenterPoint Energy crews took measures to protect the public and keep the natural gas system safe – but as the catastrophic picture formed, we realized it was only the beginning of the damage to come.

Learn More

 

August 25, 2017

Hurricane Harvey makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, causing severe damage throughout Texas’ Coastal Bend.

 

August 27, 2017

In response to the severity of the hurricane, CenterPoint Energy calls in additional support to assist in Sinton, Victoria and beyond.

 

August 28, 2017

Hundreds of CenterPoint Energy crews worked around the clock to assess system damage and accelerate restoration efforts, while teams in Houston and Minnesota continued sharing updates and natural gas safety messages throughout the affected areas.

NOW:

CenterPoint Energy is well prepared to respond to natural disasters. We continue to invest in the safety, reliability and resilience of our system, and our employees continue to conduct drills and prepare for the next big storm.

Do you know how to prepare your natural gas service for a flood or storm? Here’s an important safety tip: Do not turn off your natural gas at the meter. Leave it on to maintain pressure in the line and help prevent flood damage.

Get more safety tips at: CenterPointEnergy.com/StormSafety

From In the Dark to In the Know

August 22-24, 2017

Staying Alert for Houston for You, Then and Now

Who could have envisioned the devastation Hurricane Harvey would leave behind? As quickly as calm skies turned to swift winds, raindrops became rapids. CenterPoint Energy was at the ready, advising our customers in Houston and along the Texas coast to prepare with our Storm Center checklist, while also encouraging enrollment to receive power outage notices through Power Alert Service®. Even still, little did anyone know the extent to which our natural gas and electric crews, and many more heroes across the area, would soon jump into action to support our home.

Learn More

 

August 22, 2017

Harvey enters the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical wave, quickly intensifying into a hurricane.

 

August 22-23, 2017

CenterPoint Energy prepares crews for the storm and shares hurricane resources with customers, including a preparation checklist that encourages residents to enroll in Power Alert Service® notifications.

 

August 24, 2017

CenterPoint Energy officially activates its electric and natural gas emergency operations plans and issues more preparedness and safety messages.

NOW:

CenterPoint Energy helps you be prepared when natural disasters strike. We’ve upgraded our free Power Alert Service® to help give you and your family more peace of mind. Receive power outage alerts with estimated restoration times and send alerts to up to 15 friends and family members.

Get more details and enroll today at CenterPointEnergy.com/PowerAlertService

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