Houston – Jan. 28, 2023 – CenterPoint Energy today provided an update on its restoration efforts following the EF3 tornado and severe weather conditions in southeast Houston on Tuesday, Jan. 24:
- National Weather Service Houston confirms tornado will be preliminarily rated EF3, with an estimated maximum path length of 18 miles, maximum path width of 0.66 miles, and maximum wind speed of 140 mph
- Nearly all remaining electric outages restored today; isolated outages expected to be restored tomorrow to customers able to receive service
- Some customer outages may be attributable to customer-owned equipment damage caused by extreme weather
- Company providing support to those in need through the CenterPoint Energy Foundation
Due to the extensive damage to the area's electric infrastructure, CenterPoint Energy crews have worked since Tuesday, Jan. 24 to rebuild parts of the electric system and replace eight transmission structures, and more than 290 poles, 90 transformers, 50 fuses, and 80 downed wire spans. Damage resulted in electric service interruption to more than 200,000 customers, with the highest concentration of outages in Baytown, Deer Park and Pasadena. As of 12 p.m. CT, there are fewer than 500 customer outages in southeast Houston. Overall, more than 99.9% of CenterPoint Energy's customers across its greater Houston service area are currently receiving electric service.
"The EF3 tornado and severe weather conditions inflicted catastrophic damage on communities across southeast Houston. Our hearts go out to all our neighbors who were affected by this natural disaster," said Lynnae Wilson, CenterPoint Energy's Senior Vice President, Electric Business. "As a result of the tornado's extensive destruction, many parts of our system needed to be completely rebuilt by our crews. We greatly appreciate our customers' continued patience as we work around-the-clock to restore service. We will not rest until the lights are back on for every customer who can take electric service."
CenterPoint Energy noted that the extreme weather may have caused damage to customer-owned equipment, such as the customer's service entrances, risers and/or weatherhead, the point where power enters the home through an electric service drop, which is often a pipe located on the side of the residence or building. Since this equipment is owned and maintained by the customer, if it is damaged, customers will need to contact a qualified electrician to make repairs before the company is able to restore service to them. Once repairs are made, the customer or the electrician should request a permit from the city and contact CenterPoint Energy's Customer Service at 713-207-2222 to request a service reconnect.
If customers do not have damage to their service entrances, risers or weatherhead, and their power has not been restored, they should check and reset the circuit breakers. If service is still not restored, customers should contact CenterPoint Energy's Customer Service at 713-207-2222 and report that their service is still off.
Following new Texas legislation approved in 2021, CenterPoint Energy also deployed temporary emergency mobile generation in Pasadena, one of the hardest-hit areas, to aid in restoring power to Turner Elementary School and Bondy Intermediate School, while repairs to extensive damage took place. This allowed the two schools to reopen on Friday, Jan. 27 and resume operations.
The company also said that its natural gas supply continues to remain reliable and stable. If customers smell the "rotten egg" odor of natural gas, they should immediately leave on foot, go to a safe location and call both 911 and CenterPoint Energy. In addition, before cleaning debris, digging on their property or to locate underground natural gas lines and other underground utility lines, customers should call 811, the nationwide Call Before You Dig number.
Wilson added, "From elected officials, emergency personnel and first responders, to nonprofits, volunteers and neighbors who helped neighbors, we would like to recognize the countless people who are answering the call during our area's time of need."
CenterPoint Energy is supporting relief and recovery efforts across southeast Houston through its foundation. The CenterPoint Energy Foundation has contributed $10,000 each to the following five organizations: Salvation Army East Harris County; Baker Ripley Pasadena Campus; Clothed by Faith; United Way of Greater Baytown and Chambers County; and the Pasadena Animal Shelter.
"CenterPoint Energy is leading the way to provide community support to the hardest-hit communities through our foundation. In addition to the contributions, the company has a program to match employee donations made to nonprofits supporting these efforts dollar-for-dollar and double their impact," said Wilson.