Houston – Sept. 13, 2021 – CenterPoint Energy continues to monitor weather conditions and prepare for the impact of Tropical Storm Nicholas across the Greater Houston area and surrounding communities. The company has completed systems readiness assessments and thousands of electric and natural gas employees and contractors are ready to respond to the potential impact of flooding caused by the storm.
"The safety of our customers and employees is our top priority, and we have plans in place to respond to this event," said Kenny Mercado, CenterPoint Energy's Executive Vice President, Electric Utility. "The biggest threat continues to be flooding. As always with severe weather, we encourage our customers to prepare to be without power and have an emergency plan in place, especially those who depend on electricity for life-sustaining equipment.
"We have personnel, resources and equipment ready to restore electricity to our customers as soon as it is safe to do so. Our Electric Operations mutual assistance crews that were helping in Louisiana have all returned to Houston to assist with the company's response."
More than 3,200 electric crews, including distribution, transmission, substation, underground, tree trimmers and damage assessors, will be working 16-hour shifts to restore power as safely and quickly as possible. The company has also prepared its substations by closing flood gates and moving equipment and materials to higher grounds.
Mercado added, "Our crews may be facing some hazardous road conditions, so we ask for our customers' patience while we work to restore their service."
In addition, CenterPoint Energy is part of electric utility mutual assistance programs that provide access to thousands of linemen and tree trimmers from around the country to support restoration efforts during widespread power outage emergencies. The company is in close contact with mutual assistance partners in the event additional crews are needed.
CenterPoint Energy is also prepared to meet customers' natural gas demands across its service territory. "We are ready to respond to potential impact to our system caused by the storm," said Scott Doyle, CenterPoint Energy's Executive Vice President, Natural Gas. "As a multi-state natural gas utility, all of Gas Operations technicians and crews in the non-impacted areas are on standby ready to respond, as well as logistics and material support ready to address any restoration efforts required."
Doyle added, "Our response plans include the use of the company's advanced leak detection equipment that will allow us to quickly assess any damages after the storm passes, focusing our restoration efforts where needed."
We continue to urge customers to prepare and follow important electric and natural gas safety tips.
- Stay away from downed power lines. Be especially mindful of downed lines that could be hidden in flood waters and treat all downed lines as if they are energized.
- If you experience flooding and water has risen above the electrical outlets in your home, contact a licensed electrician before turning on the main circuit breaker or trying to restore power.
- All electrical appliances and electronic equipment that have been submerged in water need to dry thoroughly for at least one week. Then, have them checked by a qualified repair person before turning them on. Attempting to repair a flood-damaged appliance could result in electrical shock or death. Attempting to restart it could result in further damage and costly repairs.
- If the outside unit of an air conditioning system has been under water, mud and water may have accumulated in the controls. Have the unit checked by a qualified air conditioning technician.
- Do not turn off your natural gas service at the meter; doing so could allow water to enter the natural gas lines.
- Be alert for the smell of natural gas. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately and tell others to leave, too.
- If you smell gas, do not turn the lights on or off, 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 911 and CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786 and the company will send a trained service technician.
- If your home was flooded, call a licensed plumber or gas appliance technician to inspect your appliances and gas piping to make sure they are in good operating condition before calling CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service. This includes outdoor gas appliances including pool heaters, gas grills and gas lights.
- Before cleaning debris, digging on your property or to locate underground natural gas lines and other underground utility lines, call 811, the nationwide Call Before You Dig number.
- Be aware of where your natural gas meter is located. As debris is put out for heavy trash pickup, make sure it is placed away from the meter. In many areas the meter may be located near the curb. If debris is near a gas meter, the mechanized equipment used by trash collectors could pull up the meter, damaging it and causing a potentially hazardous situation. If this happens, leave the area immediately and call CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786.
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As the only investor owned electric and gas utility based in Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) is an energy delivery company with electric transmission and distribution, power generation and natural gas distribution operations that serve more than 7 million metered customers in Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. As of June 30, 2021, the company owned approximately $36 billion in assets and also owned 53.7 percent of the common units representing limited partner interests in Enable Midstream Partners, LP, a publicly traded master limited partnership that owns, operates and develops strategically located natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With approximately 9,500 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.