- Power restored to nearly 300,000 customers in less than 12 hours since hurricane’s landfall
- Natural gas system in Houston area performing well; system assessment almost completed
- Customers’ patience appreciated as company works to restore service as safely and quickly as possible
Houston – Sept. 14, 2021 – In response to Hurricane Nicholas’ impact on its electric and natural gas systems in Greater Houston and surrounding communities, CenterPoint Energy has issued the following update on its restoration efforts:
The company has restored power to nearly 300,000 electric customers over the last 12 hours, down from a peak outage count of more than 460,000 at 8 a.m. CT this morning. Of the 2.6 million CenterPoint Energy customers in the Greater Houston area, more than 93 percent currently have power. At this time, CenterPoint Energy is down to approximately 160,000 customers without power.
“We want to thank our customers for their continued patience. We remain committed to continue our safe and efficient restoration efforts until all of our customers are back in service,” said Kenny Mercado, Executive Vice President, Electric Utility, CenterPoint Energy. “Due to the extensive damage caused by the storm, impacted customers should anticipate some outages taking as long as four to five days, with the majority restored earlier as repairs are safely completed.”
In addition to the more than 3,200 Electric Operations employees and contractors focused on the restoration work, CenterPoint Energy has confirmed 1,800 linemen and tree trimmers from their mutual assistance network and will activate four staging sites across the impacted areas. The mutual assistance resources are expected to begin work on Wednesday, with the remainder arriving on Thursday.
The restoration process begins with facilities vital to safety, health and welfare, such as hospitals, water treatment plants and public service facilities. While addressing key facilities, the company follows its priority restoration process by making repairs to electrical facilities that will return power to the largest number of customers first, then continue the restoration process by prioritizing repairs to benefit the greatest number of customers, until power is returned to everyone.
CenterPoint Energy’s natural gas system is performing well, and system assessment is almost complete.
“To help support our customers who were impacted by the storm, we have temporarily suspended disconnections for nonpayment throughout the affected region,” said Scott Doyle, Executive Vice President, Natural Gas. “Safety remains a top priority as we complete the damage assessment, customers need to call us if they smell natural gas or see a damaged line.”
For latest information on power outages*:
- Sign up for Power Alert Service for information on individual outages;
- Follow @cnpalerts and visit Outage Tracker for general outage locations; and
- Visit CenterPointEnergy.com/StormCenter for electric and natural gas safety tips and other resources.
*Please note that some outage notifications may be delayed. Due to the ongoing system assessment of damage caused by Hurricane Nicholas, estimated restoration times on Outage Tracker and Power Alert Service are not being provided at this time.
The company urges the public to follow these 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.