'Don't we owe it to our people?' Frustration grows as senior communities struggle without power

Jessica Willey Image
Wednesday, July 10, 2024 2:09PM
Frustration is a common theme as senior centers struggle without power
CenterPoint says it is prioritizing critical care facilities in the restoration process, but ABC13 found that many are still in the dark.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- More than a million CenterPoint Energy customers were still without power on Tuesday evening, including communities that house seniors and those who need assistance to live.

"I try to be understanding because I know there's a million other people feeling the same way," said Ian Wu, one of the owners of Ella Springs, an assisted senior living facility in Spring. "But a little bit acknowledging we're a high-priority place would be nice."

Wu has been fielding questions from residents and their families since the power went out early Monday morning, leaving 85 residents and their caregivers not only in the dark, but also without electricity to power necessary medical equipment like oxygen machines.

"Right now, we're trying to keep our generators up to power the essential stuff like for cooking and oxygen tanks," said Wu.

SEE ALSO: New CenterPoint Energy map shows repair work hasn't even started in many areas still without power

Still in the dark? This new map from CenterPoint may shed some light on where the progress stands in your neighborhood.

According to Wu, the facility is registered as a critical load customer for whom electric service is considered crucial, but even with that designation, he said, there is little clarity about when power will be restored.

"We have not gotten anything at all. We have the same customer service number everybody else has, and I'm sure there's a million people calling," Wu said.

"I think it's ridiculous. I really do," said Patricia Romano, who packed up her 92-year-old mother and moved her to her house for now. "If she was going to be without electricity, she was going to be with me and my husband at my home."

At The Orchard at Garden Oaks senior living facility, no power means no elevator, and there are four floors. George Sowell, who lives on the fourth floor, has limited his trips downstairs. He has also been thinking about ways to keep cool. Riding the bus comes to mind.

RELATED: No power? Can't leave your home? Here are ways to make it through the heat after Hurricane Beryl

Families left their homes to seek relief after Beryl knocked out their power. But others might not have a choice but to stay at home in the heat.

"That'll keep me in coolness and get me where I want to go without taking my vehicle," he said.

ABC13 found residents keeping cool in the common area and pushing walkers down dark hallways. Outside, there is a massive generator that no longer works. A manager said it needs new parts and they are just as frustrated.

Frustration is a common theme.

"Don't we owe it to our people who can't take care of themselves to take care of them?" asked Romano.

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