​​​Why Do Power Outages Happen? ​

CenterPoint Energy delivers power to more than 2.3 million customers in the Houston area via more than 55,000 miles of tree-lined distribution lines. With the deployment of Smart Grid infrastructure that includes smart meters and intelligent grid switching devices, electric reliability continues to improve. But even with careful planning and new technology, outages happen thanks to our volatile Gulf Coast weather. 

Here are the top five causes of power outages in the Houston area:

  1. Weather: More specifically, wind and lightning. Wind snaps branches that fall onto lines, picks up yard debris and sends it into lines, downs poles. Lightning also breaks branches and can create excessive current that shuts down equipment.
  2. Vegetation: Trees, vines and roots can wreak havoc on electrical equipment. That’s why we have a forestry department that schedules regular maintenance on a rotating schedule around the city. But we also rely on customer reports to tell us when vegetation is threatening to damage electrical equipment. Call 713-207-2222 to request an inspection.
  3. Equipment failure: Equipment can fail for many reasons, but it’s usually due to age or repeated lightning strikes.
  4. Third-party damage: You hear screeching tires and then the next thing you know, the power is out. It is common for outages to be caused by cars hitting poles or workers using heavy equipment getting tangled up in power lines.
  5. Wildlife: While we take many precautions to protect the environment – particularly birds – outages can be caused by animals coming into contact with equipment. Squirrels are a frequent cause.