Power problems for non-Ike victims

October 3, 2008 9:31:44 PM PDT
Thousands of Hurricane Ike victims trying to rebuild their lives are hitting another brick wall with CenterPoint Energy.ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | School closings | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim | Latest power numbers

Though power is restored to nearly all who lost it during the hurricane, there are still thousands without. Some of them are Ike victims and some aren't. They are the ones who moved or transferred service since the storm. Their orders had to be put on hold while CenterPoint Energy worked to get power flowing again.

Rex and Kim Bettis and their two and a half year old twins lost their Kemah home in Hurricane Ike.

"Our house had 3 to 4 feet of water in it so we had to find somewhere else to live," said Rex Bettis.

After gathering what they could of their belongings, the moved into a Clear Lake townhome. That was two weeks ago.

"I've given up calling, it doesn't do me any good to call and sit on the phone for 30 minutes everyday with these people because they don't tell me anything," Rex said.

Extension cords from gracious neighbors still snake across the living room, while candles burn in the kitchen. Their neighbors all have power but this couple can't get the lights turned on.

"It's bad enough that we were victimized by Ike, it just seems like now we're being victimized by the power company," said Kim Bettis.

CenterPoint Energy tells us they have been so focused since the hurricane on returning power to those who lost it, that they have halted new service orders and transfers.

"We stopped doing normal routine operations on September 12th," said Alicia Dixon with the company.

A spokesperson tells us at least $65,000 orders for power are waiting to be worked.

"Well there is definitely a back log because when Ike made landfall restoration had to be our priority," Dixon said.

Neither Rex or Kim Bettis want to suggest that power crews aren't doing their jobs. They know it was a mammoth undertaking restoring power to over two million customers. They just want to know why it's so difficult to get someone out to pull this tag off their meter now that most everyone else has their lights back on.

"All I need is some guy to come cut the tag off the meter and come turn it on right there," Rex said.

CenterPoint Energy has an estimate for getting power turned on to all those who've moved or transferred service since Hurricane Ike. They hope to have power to those 65,000 or so customers within 16 days.

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