Energy companies urge users to develop power plan

Nick Natario Image
Thursday, August 24, 2017

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Hurricane Harvey isn't in the Houston area, but it's already impacting people's power plans.

Right now, CenterPoint Energy has a thousand workers ready to tackle outages that might impact streets. They're urging people to have their own power plan.

Watch for downed lines and water going above electrical outlets, and check the gas to each appliance.

Those thousand workers may not be enough. CenterPoint Energy said help from outside the Houston area may be necessary.

"We are in conversations with those groups that we continue to use," Steve Greenly, CenterPoint's vice president of distribution power delivery, said. "We haven't identified the need for that just yet."

If your block does go dark, there's an easy way to keep your lights and even these electronics going. It may cost thousands, but some neighbors say it beats the alternative.

That option was keeping employees at Texas Power Equipment in Houston busy Thursday.

"Excited and also overwhelmed, but so far so good," Texas Power Equipment director Benny Yap said. "People are behaving."

Neighbors are racing to buy generators, a tool that could help if Hurricane Harvey knocks out power.

"It makes all the difference," said Wendy Hatz, who is looking to buy a generator. "Especially if you have young kids."

Customers know what the alternative is like.

"Hot. Mosquitoes. It's just nasty," Hatz said.

If you're buying one, here's what you need to know. They range in price from a few hundred dollars to more than ten thousand.

They all may give electricity, but it's not the same. The lower-priced ones will run the lights and TV, but employees said you need to spend more for other stuff.

"A regular conventional generator where you can use it for lights and refrigerator and stove," Yap said.

No matter which gas-powered generator you have at home or looking to buy, they all have something in common. Before you start it up, you have to be outside, and not just anywhere. It needs to be covered. This way, the equipment won't get wet.

"I would advise to do it as soon as possible because the inventory, everybody's inventory, is limited," Yap said.

If you have a generator at home, now would be a good time to check it. If it's been a while since you used it, and gas has sat inside, you might be out of luck.

The gas can ruin the equipment. The best bet - get it to a repair shop as soon as possible before the storm hits.

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