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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.

Adding High Efficiency to Dream Homes

Now that the waters have receded, how can we rebuild and remodel our homes to benefit both the homeowner and the environment? See how CenterPoint Energy works with builders to help residents keep energy efficiency in mind.
Phase: Preparation Read More

Technology that Changed Everything

Using Smart Grid technology, we were better prepared to efficiently and effectively respond to customers' power needs post-Harvey. Take a closer look at how this technology helped us improve the outlook for thousands of Houstonians.
Phase: Preparation Aug 22-Sept 8

Protecting the City's Most Vulnerable

After years of planning and millions of dollars in investments, the Texas Medical Center walked away from Harvey with no power loss throughout the entire storm. Learn how.
Phase: Preparation Sept 2016-Sept 2017

Danger Around the Bend

Discover how our crews moved the regional staging site mid-storm as Harvey caused the Brazos and Colorado rivers to swell.
Phase: Preparation Aug 27-Sept 8

Underwater Equipment. Overwhelming Response.

When a critical substation in West Houston was under two feet of water, our crews built a temporary substation to bring power back to 5,700 residents.
Phase: Preparation Aug 27-Sept 8

No Such Thing as Too Prepared

With the 2018 hurricane season fast approaching, take a moment to review our tips and resources for keeping your power and natural gas services safe during a storm.
Phase: Preparation Read More

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 helped turn the tide of dangerous floodwaters.
Phase: Preparation May 24-Sept 7

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:

The Hidden Stories of Harvey

You've heard stories of neighbors helping neighbors during Harvey. But you haven't heard the unbelievable efforts from our employees, families, and even past employees to help our communities recover.
Phase: Preparation Aug 25-28

Adding High Efficiency to Dream Homes

Always Going Beyond to Help YOU Build Smarter Homes

Recovery efforts took place throughout Houston as people returned to assess the damage to their homes, businesses and lives. But with flooded roads causing commutes of over two hours and neighborhoods littered with debris as residents mucked out their homes, the road to normalcy was daunting.

To support those faced with rebuilding their homes, CenterPoint Energy donated funds and professional resources to programs like Greater Houston Builders Association's BuildAid. And with the increased demand for newly constructed homes, we rose to the challenge, working with our CenterPoint Energy High Efficiency Homes® building partners to ensure each new home exceeds energy efficiency building code — including tight exterior construction, high-performance windows, insulation and HVAC systems.

With each new home, a stronger sense of community is built.

Learn More

 

High-Performance Features

CenterPoint Energy High Efficiency Homes® offer more efficient cooling, natural gas heating and water heating, R-38 attic insulation, LED lighting, high-efficiency windows and more.

 

Measurable Cost Savings

The savings add up quickly. In fact, the energy performance achieved by our building partner J. Patrick Homes saved a yearly average of 5 to 20 percent per home in 2017, compared to other homes built to Texas code.

 

Long-Term Confidence

As a proud ENERGY STAR® partner, CenterPoint Energy is the longest-running utility to be named Partner of the Year. Our builders are also leaders in energy efficiency, ensuring that your new home will provide higher performance and savings for years to come.

 

How It Works

CenterPoint Energy High Efficiency Homes® have best-in-class energy-saving features, but you can take that efficiency to the next level with these simple tips:

 

Home Feature

High-performance windows for tighter sealing and insulation

How You Can Save More:

  • Lock your windows to remain as airtight as possible.
  • Close your curtains to help cool your home during the day.
 

Home Feature

High-efficiency heating and air conditioning system

How You Can Save More:

  • Keep your HVAC system's fans, ducts and vents clean, and change filters monthly.
  • Do not block vents' air circulation with furniture or window coverings.
  • Set the thermostat to 80 F or higher while away during warmer months.
 

Home Feature

Cost-effective water heater

How You Can Save More:

  • Lower the temperature from 140 F to 120 F to reduce costs by up to 10 percent.
 

Home Feature

Energy-efficient dishwasher that uses less water

How You Can Save More:

  • Run only full loads. Half-filled loads use nearly as much energy.
  • Let your dishes air dry to reduce energy use by 15-50 percent.
 

Home Feature

Energy-efficient oven and range

How You Can Save More:

  • Avoid opening the door while in use, which can drop the temperature by as much as 50 F.
  • Choose the burner size that most closely matches your skillet or pan for more efficient cooking.
 

Facts

Top three energy saving builders in 2017

In 2017, CenterPoint Energy recognized these three builders as leaders in providing the highest energy savings*:

  1. David Weekley Homes
  2. Beazer Homes
  3. Meritage Homes

The right builder can help you save energy and money in the long run. So if you are building a more energy efficient home after Harvey, choose a CenterPoint Energy High Efficiency Homes® builder. Here is a complete list of participating builders.

Benefit from Building with Better Efficiency

If you're rebuilding or buying a new home, help save energy and money with a home built to CenterPoint Energy High Efficiency Homes® program standards. Find a participating builder at CenterPointEnergy.com/EfficientHomes.

Technology that Changed Everything

August 22-September 8, 2017

Award-Winning Technology to Keep YOU Connected Then and NOW

Harvey tested the resiliency of Texas' electricity grid and the response plans of energy delivery companies. Fortunately, CenterPoint Energy has spent the last decade investing millions of dollars in Smart Grid advancements and supporting technology, which helped us quickly restore power to homes and businesses.

With our Smart Grid technology, Advanced Metering System (AMS) and advanced data analytics, we restored power to 76 percent of the 1.2 million customers who lost power throughout the course of the storm – in less than 24 hours.

Learn More

 

FACTS

BETTER CONNECTED WITH TECHNOLOGY INFOGRAPHIC

Better Connected with Technology
With millions of dollars invested in Smart Grid advancements and supporting technology — for which we have been recognized with multiple international awards — we can quickly respond to power outages and increase customer communications, while reducing our environmental impact.

 

How It Works

Major Milestone Recognized
Between 2011 and 2017, CenterPoint Energy's Smart Grid helps us avoid 250 million outage minutes – a significant milestone for this monumental project.

 

August 25-September 7, 2017

With Smart Grid technology on our side, we're able to effectively execute our Emergency Operating Plan – helping to maximize resources, increase efficiency and improve timeliness of electricity delivery and power restoration.

What's on the horizon for new technology?
Arrange for your organization to visit the Energy Innovation Center and see the advancements underway, such as gas leak detection, equipment failure prediction and the use of drones. Just email EnergyInsight@CenterPointEnergy.com to schedule a visit.

 

August 25-September 7, 2017

CenterPoint Energy's innovative technology delivers automated power outage notifications and real-time data, helping us identify outage types and locations 50-70 percent faster and reroute power remotely. This helps us save customers 41 million outage minutes and provide dispatchers with critical decision-making tools.

 

August 22-September 8, 2017

Another powerful technology on our side is social media. With a pre-planned community-level social media strategy, we deliver more than 700 messages throughout the storm to millions of people – sharing neighborhood updates, photos and videos, and increasing our website traffic by 600 percent, with more than 868,000 total website visits.

Facebook Videos
 

PEOPLE

CenterPoint Energy proudly accepts Chartwell's Gold Award for 'Best Practices in Outage Communication'

Honored by the Industry's Best
CenterPoint Energy proudly accepts Chartwell's Gold Award for "Best Practices in Outage Communication." Chartwell is an organization recognizing excellence and innovation among electric and gas utilities with respect to projects, programs and service initiatives.

NOW:

Today, we're investing even more to help ensure power reliability in the medical center. CenterPoint Energy recently installed water-resistant equipment, and we're developing new ways to monitor waterway levels and determine critical level points.

Our planning doesn't end with the medical center. We work with local companies, municipalities and organizations across our service area to determine ways to lessen flood risks and the resulting power outages. In addition to emergency planning, we offer a suite of specialized services to commercial and industrial customers for maximum reliability. To learn more about how we can help you and your business, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/Business.

Protecting the City's Most Vulnerable

September 2016-September 2017

Safeguarding the City's Most Vulnerable and YOU Then and NOW

The Texas Medical Center is the largest in the world, providing critical care for thousands of patients every day — so CenterPoint Energy has worked diligently to ensure they're protected and can maintain power if disaster strikes.

After costly lessons learned from previous storms, we worked closely with the medical center's leadership teams as they invested millions into major construction upgrades: a storm gate system around its facilities, an 8-foot wall around the center's substation and a co-generator plant to provide ongoing power during a storm – better positioning the medical center to weather future storms.

As Harvey approached, the Texas Medical Center teams put their own contingency plans into place, coordinating schedules, working with patients and bringing in physicians, nurses and technicians to stay in place during the storms. They'd anticipated a few days of enduring the weather, but like most of the city, they didn't predict that Harvey would bring the record-breaking rainfall that it did.

Thankfully, the prior planning and investments paid off, and while the streets filled with water, none of the Texas Medical Center facilities were affected by loss of power.

When it comes to protecting those who need it most, we've witnessed the kind of dedication and work ethic that we practice at CenterPoint Energy. We've seen professionals across all industries work, prepare and take time away from their own families to serve the customers, patients and communities around them. To be a part of it is truly inspiring.

Learn More

 

September 13, 2016

CenterPoint Energy holds a Healthcare Customer Symposium, bringing in dozens of healthcare partners to gather input, examine issues and discuss solutions.

 

April 27, 2017

CenterPoint Energy offers a Power Quality Seminar for healthcare and education professionals to explore reliability solutions, planning and implementation.

 

August 25-September 7, 2017

Despite historic levels of flooding and power outages throughout the city, the Texas Medical Center retains power during Harvey, due in large part to years of preparation.

NOW:

Today, we're investing even more to help ensure power reliability in the medical center. CenterPoint Energy recently installed water-resistant equipment, and we're developing new ways to monitor waterway levels and determine critical level points.

Our planning doesn't end with the medical center. We work with local companies, municipalities and organizations across our service area to determine ways to lessen flood risks and the resulting power outages. In addition to emergency planning, we offer a suite of specialized services to commercial and industrial customers for maximum reliability. To learn more about how we can help you and your business, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/Business.

Danger Around the Bend

August 27-September 8, 2017

Putting Ingenuity to Work for YOU Then and NOW

As Harvey's rains continued to fall, forecasters predicted even more heavy downpours for the hard-hit Fort Bend and Wharton counties, causing the Brazos River to rise further and threaten levees. This put CenterPoint Energy's Fort Bend operations staging site and critical repair equipment at risk of being lost. It was an unprecedented challenge that took ingenuity, innovation and an unyielding commitment to customers to solve.

Within hours, CenterPoint Energy moved crews and dozens of trucks, an office trailer, a forklift, and other equipment and supplies to a new staging site located 30 miles away. This allowed crews to continue to restore power to affected areas, including using helicopters and airboats to identify and navigate access points.

Our response to this threat proved to be a shining example of how our employees' quick thinking overcame a daunting situation.

Learn More

 

August 27, 2017

The Fort Bend Office of Emergency Management and County Judge Robert Hebert issue evacuation orders for areas near the Brazos and San Bernard rivers, close to CenterPoint Energy's Fort Bend operations staging site.

 

How It Works

What's in a staging site?
The Fort Bend operations staging site was vital to our ability to restore power to the area during the storm. It not only served as housing and staging areas for crews, it was also a robust ecosystem of infrastructure materials, including:

  • Poles, wires, transformers
  • Trucks, vehicles, forklifts
  • Diesel generator lights
  • Office equipment
  • Laundry facilities
  • Meals, drinks, ice machines
  • Portable restrooms
  • Washing stations
  • Temporary housing

When forecasters predicted additional rainfall and flooding, CenterPoint Energy immediately began a herculean effort to move all of these materials to dryer ground within hours.

 

August 28, 2017

CenterPoint Energy quickly moves the Fort Bend operations staging site 30 miles to dryer ground.

Too Close For Comfort Evacuation Zones

This map shows the location of the Fort Bend operations staging site, just two miles from the Brazos River. On August 28th, forecasters predicted that rains would strengthen — causing the river to rise, threaten levees and flood the site.

 
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People

Clay Blasingame's Home

Harvey hits home.
Not only did Harvey flood thousands of our customers' homes, it also flooded over 350 of our own employees' vehicles and homes. Read one employee's account of how he wrestled with serving customers while fighting Harvey in his own home here.

 

August 26-September 8, 2017

Despite fighting floodwaters in their own homes, CenterPoint Energy crews remain committed to serving customers. They continue to work what will become over 436,000 hours during emergency operations.

 
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Facts

CenterPoint Energy Worked 436,000 Hours During Hurricane Harvey

Above and beyond the call.
The hours worked by CenterPoint Energy crews during Hurricane Harvey emergency operations equated to about 160 hours per crew member. In total, our crews' efforts amounted to about two-thirds more hours than it took to carve Mount Rushmore.

NOW:

Today, CenterPoint Energy is an industry leader using the latest technology to restore power faster following storms or other service interruptions. We have invested in Intelligent Grid technology that has saved customers over 250 million outage minutes, including 41 million outage minutes during Harvey. And we are investing in high-water equipment to enable access to flood-prone areas.

See how CenterPoint Energy is harnessing innovative technologies to help restore power faster and help keep you safer and more informed: CenterPointEnergy.com/IntelligentGrid

Underwater Equipment.

Overwhelming Response.

August 27-September 8, 2017

Finding the best solutionss for you then and now.

In the days after Harvey deluged Houston with a historic 52 inches of rain, floodwaters from the Buffalo Bayou encroached on our Memorial substation, which serves 8,000 people in West Houston.

Then, with the release of water from the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, nearly eight feet of water filled the substation, damaging equipment and forcing a difficult decision to shut it down. CenterPoint Energy knew it could take months to repair the substation and restore power. We needed another solution to help those still without power – fast.

Quick thinking led to building a mobile substation in the only available space: the nearby St. John Vianney Catholic Church parking lot. Within a week, about 4,800 customers had their power restored. Through it all, the community never stopped supporting our work, including St. John Vianney's Father Troy who gave his blessing to the team's efforts.

Learn More

 

August 27-28, 2017

Harvey's historic floodwaters inundate the Memorial substation with up to eight feet of water.

Memorial substation flooding

Our drone photographed the severity of the Memorial substation's damage that affected power for about 6,000 customers in and around the Memorial/Dairy Ashford area.

 

PEOPLE

St. John Vianney Catholic Church's fourth pastor, Father Troy Gately

Good Deeds and Good Neighbors
Father Troy kept our spirits high with his emotional support. See how he uplifted our crews as they worked around the clock (Full story via the Houston Chronicle).

"We set extra tall poles to go over the tops of trees so we could avoid trimming trees and set the poles in flower beds to avoid ripping up the concrete of the parking lot. We completed in a few days a project that would normally take three to six months. It will be one of the biggest highlights of my career. I'm still amazed." - Ryan Garris

 

August 31-September 6, 2017

Crews perform repairs from floating platforms and airboats to mitigate damage. Additional crews work successive 16-hour shifts to build a temporary mobile substation for the first time in the St. John Vianney Catholic Church parking lot. About 4,800 customers regain power.

 
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How it works

Getting a sense of how substations work infographic

Getting a Sense of Substations
Substations play a major role in power distribution – but what exactly do they do? Click here to learn more.

 

September 1-2, 2017

St. John Vianney's Father Troy offers the church flower beds for the setting of temporary power poles, while warming the hearts and lifting spirits of crews and the community.

 
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Safety tips

Floodwaters in Houston

Electricity, Safety and You
Floodwaters are dangerous for anything electrical, whether it's as large as a substation or as small as a power outlet in your home. Should you face rising water in your home, make sure you know these electrical safety basics.

NOW:

We continuously work to strengthen our transmission and distribution system to better serve our customers. Rebuilding the Memorial substation is now 60 percent complete, elevated 10 feet to help ensure our customers stay powered through any storm. Partial energization will begin in July with completion expected in October.

Should you experience a power outage, stay informed at every stage. Enroll in our free Power Alert Service® notifications at: CenterPointEnergy.com/PowerAlertService

No Such Thing as Too Prepared

Helping Keep You Safer This Hurricane Season

You may already know many of the ways you can prepare for a hurricane such as stocking up on water and locating the nearest shelters. But do you know how to protect electrical appliances and power restoration in your home? Increase your safety, mitigate damage and stay prepared with these simple tips.

Learn More

 

PREPARATIONS BEFORE A STORM

 
Update Power Alert Information

First things first: update your Power Alert Service®

Sign up today or update your preferences to stay informed with personalized power outage and restoration status for you and up to 14 loved ones. First-time users should have a recent natural gas or electric bill nearby to access your CenterPoint Energy information. Manage your Power Alert Service® account

 

Know it when we know it

Follow CenterPoint Energy on Social Media (@CNPAlerts) to stay informed in real-time with community outage, safety and restoration information.

 
Hurricane Category Chart

Plan for power outages

Depending on the severity of the storm, always be prepared to go without power for an extended period.

 
Always Pack Medicine

Don't forget about medical equipment and medicines

If you or a loved one depends on refrigerated medicine or electrically powered medical equipment, losing power could have dangerous consequences. Make a plan for access to a gas or battery-powered energy source or evacuate to a safe shelter.

 

PRECAUTIONS DURING A STORM

 
Downed Power Lines.

Stay away from downed power lines

Keep 30 feet away from downed power lines. Contact can cause serious injury. To report downed power lines, always call 713-207-2222 or 800-332-7143.

 

Let appliances dry

If electrical equipment has been submerged in water, it needs to dry thoroughly for at least one week. Then have it checked by a qualified repair person before repowering.

 
Flooded Street In Houston

Check before you cool

If your outside air conditioning unit has been submerged, mud and water may have accumulated in the controls. Be sure to get it checked by a qualified air conditioning technician before using.

 
Unplugged Outlet

Unplug

Sensitive electronics like TVs and computers can experience power surges when power is restored. So be sure to unplug them if you lose power.

 

Start small when plugging in appliances

Once power is restored, help protect your equipment by plugging in and powering up in the correct sequence. Start with your smallest appliances first, then your larger appliances like your washer or clothes dryer. Leave your air conditioner for last.

 
Breaker Box

Call before turning on your circuit breaker

If floodwaters have risen above the electrical outlets in your home, contact a licensed electrician before turning on the main circuit breaker or trying to restore power.

 

Think you could be a CenterPoint Energy line mechanic?

It's no walk in the park. See the training our crews go through before achieving this and other critical field positions.

NOW:

CenterPoint Energy continually invests in new technologies and routinely rehearses emergency procedures to help ensure the safety of our communities. As a proud sponsor of the Extreme Weather Ready Expo on June 2 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, we invite you to learn how to best prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. See exhibits from the National Weather Service and relief agencies, and talk with government officials. For more, visit: HurricaneWorkshop.com

Gaining a New Perspective on Harvey

May 24-September 7, 2017

Putting High-Flying Technology To Work for You

When the sun finally shone over Greater Houston, it revealed a dire situation: Damaged electricity and natural gas equipment was still inaccessible in many areas, creating potential danger for our crews and customers. So CenterPoint Energy implemented a high-tech solution — working with professional drone pilots to deploy drone inspection technology on a large scale.

With aerial infrared imagery and HD video, we assessed damage, evaluated work conditions and provided real-time situational awareness at more than 500 locations to our emergency operations command center. These drones also allowed us to maximize ground crew efficiency and give customers regular visual updates on their area through social media and the web, helping them make decisions regarding their safety and potential flood hazards. With this technology, we were proud to accelerate restoration and help customers begin rebuilding their lives as quickly and safely as possible.

Learn More

 
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Future Investment

Student working on a drone.

November 2013-May 2014
CenterPoint Energy sponsors a team of students at the University of Houston to design an electronic system to operate drones for utilities.

 

May 24, 2017

As part of our annual emergency drill, CenterPoint Energy field-tests our drone program after a microburst storm in Sealy, Texas.

 

August 30, 2017

CenterPoint Energy deploys 15 drones across the Houston area, helping determine the status of disconnect switches, identify equipment that needed further inspection, and direct crews to accessible locations faster.

 

September 1, 2017

Katy Service Center crews jumped into action with military precision to reestablish power at the shuttered Sealy Outlet Mall, so the National Guard could use the facility as a post-Harvey staging area. Our crews repaired wiring, installed meters and transformers, and arranged for electric service. Four hours later, the troops moved in.

Katy Service Area Crew

Katy Service Center Crews Help National Guard Set Up Staging Area to Serve West Houston

 

September 1-7, 2017

CenterPoint Energy deploys 15 drones across the Houston area, helping determine the status of disconnect switches, identify equipment that needed further inspection, and direct crews to accessible locations faster.

 

September 7, 2017

By employing our drone program, Smart Grid technology and hardworking crews, we complete more than 1.27 million power restorations.

NOW:

CenterPoint Energy continually invests in new technologies and routinely rehearses emergency procedures to help ensure the safety of our communities. As a proud sponsor of the Extreme Weather Ready Expo on June 2 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, we invite you to learn how to best prepare for the upcoming hurricane season. See exhibits from the National Weather Service and relief agencies, and talk with government officials. For more, visit: HurricaneWorkshop.com

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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