Natural gas goes out for homeowners during cold weather

January 8, 2010 2:44:34 PM PST
It's not often that temperatures hit this low here in Houston, and we are seeing some problems as homeowners do what they can to keep their homes warm. CenterPoint is reporting they are seeing problems with low gas pressure in a couple of areas, including one popular subdivision in Pearland. Daniel Flores is a popular guy in the BellaVita neighborhood today. He's the one going door to door, turning on the gas and relighting the pilot lights for homeowners who suddenly found themselves without heat.

Homeowner Karlon Simon said, "We had heat this morning, but around 10:00 it started cooling down."

Like many of his neighbors, Simon was surprised to find the gas shutting down during one of the coldest mornings in years. Once CenterPoint crews were called, they quickly figured out the problem.

CenterPoint District Director Zan May explained, "Basically what it is, is that there's a supply line that feeds into the area, and the demand, the instantaneous demand, is kind of overriding the ability of gas to come through that."

CenterPoint says there is plenty of natural gas supply for everyone in the area. That's not the problem. But older gas lines may not be equipped to handle new, fast growing communities like this one.

"Usually these systems have been in the ground for several years, and as communities build out and build out, the demand changes for that line," May said.

In this particular case, crews fixed the problem, and will install a monitoring device that can control the natural gas supply for the entire subdivision. For everyone else, experts say if you notice a heating problem, call CenterPoint. Leave it to the professionals and don't try to fix it yourself.

Flores said, "You got to be a professional and have skill training to make sure they're working safe and properly."

CenterPoint will have crews on call throughout the cold spell to monitor natural gas supplies to all of its communities.