More than a million CenterPoint customers still without power 1 day after Beryl lashed SE Texas

Wednesday, July 10, 2024
CenterPoint hopes to have 1M more customers back online by tomorrow
Nearly two million CenterPoint Energy customers in the Houston area are still without power after Beryl's landfall in southeast Texas.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- More than 640,000 CenterPoint customers in the greater Houston region have had their power restored since Hurricane Beryl slashed through southeast Texas early Monday morning. That means more than 1.5 million households are still in the dark.

CenterPoint Energy, Houston's primary power provider, said customers should expect a multi-day process to restore their electricity, as 12,000 workers have fanned out across the region.

Among those still waiting for the air conditioners to run are the seniors at two small residential facilities run by the Rose of Sharon Missionary Baptist Church.

On Tuesday morning, Pastor Elmo Johnson eagerly awaited the arrival of generators and window air conditioners.

"I knew it was going to be hot for seniors," Johnson said. "I called our council member, Abbie Kamin, and she was right here."

WATCH: New CenterPoint map shows repair work hasn't started in many areas

CenterPoint is facing questions and criticism about how well it prepared for Beryl. A spokesperson tried explaining strategy, but people want to know when service will return.

Kamin's office quickly arranged for Houston Tool Bank, a non-profit, to drop off some generators, fans, and portable air conditioners.

Eyewitness News found Kamin on Tuesday while she was helping install the air conditioners. These will only offer temporary relief to a growing number of frustrated Houstonians.

"People are frustrated, and they have a right to be," Kamin said. "I am frustrated. My home doesn't have power. We're all in this together; Houston is in this together. But a Category 1 storm should not knock this much power out."

"We are only on the B with Beryl, and we have a whole season to go," Kamin continued. "We need to be asking hard questions and demanding action."

The hard questions from Houstonians sweating it out in their dark and hot homes have led to finger-pointing among those responsible.

CenterPoint Energy said it expects to restore 1 million impacted customers by the end of the day on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a heat advisory is in place on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, acting Gov. Dan Patrick said that CenterPoint may not have prepared enough for Beryl and that the Public Utility Commission may investigate at some point.

"If they made mistakes, and we don't know if they did or not, that will be addressed by the PUC and the state legislature. That's our job," Patrick said, adding he wants CenterPoint to focus on restoring power for now.

CenterPoint pushed back with multiple press releases pointing out that 12,000 workers are already in the field and that a million people are expected to have their power restored by the end of the day on Wednesday.

Still, during a news conference Tuesday afternoon, CenterPoint's local director of government affairs reminded everyone that it would not be a fast process.

"I can't give you a timeline, but it's not going to be tomorrow," Paul Locke said.

Locke said the pace of restoration is already faster than during the May storm when about a million customers lost power.

This time, 80% of customers served by CenterPoint lost power.

Locke said that, as required by new state laws, CenterPoint also recently sent the PUC a $2.1 billion hardening plan, which he says is still under review.

Kamin sees the finger-pointing and frustrations for all involved as solvable problems if everyone in Texas is willing to invest in stronger infrastructure.

She wants to see more generators at Houston multi-service centers so cooling centers can open quickly.

She would also like to see long-term plans put in place to bury more power lines underground so a falling tree doesn't automatically mean lost power.

"I continue to hammer home the fact that we need much more resilient infrastructure. We need to be investing in that infrastructure. We need to be doing it yesterday," Kamin said.

Another regional electricity provider, Entergy, reported about 201,000 outages as of noon on Monday, with the majority in Montgomery, Jefferson, Walker, and Liberty counties. The count included over 6,100 Galveston County customers, including the entire Bolivar Peninsula.

You can keep up with Entergy's outage map and find specific information regarding restoration on the company's tracker.

WATCH: Beryl-related outages improving, but challenges persist

ABC13's Tom Abrahams gives a better picture of the power outages across southeast Texas in Beryl's wake.

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