Houston's downtown skyline appears dimmer Tuesday, but not yet dark

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Anger over Texas' power grid failing in the face of a record winter freeze mounted Tuesday as millions of residents in the energy capital of the U.S. remained shivering with no assurances that their electricity and heat -- out for 36 hours or longer in many homes -- would return soon or stay on once it finally does.

"I know people are angry and frustrated," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who woke up to more than 1 million people still without power in his city. "So am I."

A notable image of downtown Houston's brightly lit skyline surrounded by homes and businesses plunged into blackness sparked outrage Monday night.

"Why is Downtown lit up like it's 4th of July?" asked on viewer on Twitter. "Surely not all those lights need to be on."

Another Twitter user wrote, "Most of downtown is office space, so why is it all lit up when they're asking everyone in Houston to conserve energy to help the power grid? The surrounding homes are not only dark but cold after hours without power in sub freezing temps. This is not a good look for Houston."

ABC13 reached out to the mayor's office after hearing residents' frustrations.

Here is the full statement:

"Throughout the day, Mayor Turner has asked people to conserve energy because of the power outages. He had mentioned it in tweets, zoom interviews and during his news conference. He has been in contact with CenterPoint Energy and others urging them to restore power to Houstonians as soon as possible. CenterPoint has assured the mayor that it is asking its major providers to conserve energy. The mayor encourages everyone to do their share to help during the extreme winter weather."

WATCH: What can the city do about outages? Mayor Turner answers
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"If I had the power to do it, I would." Mayor Turner speaks about what is and isn't out of the city's control when it comes to the power outages.



Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo also weighed in on the buildings lit up, calling it "maddening." She said she had been in touch with CenterPoint Energy Tuesday morning.

"They tell me that tonight, they've figured out a way to actually pull those buildings offline," Hidalgo said, explaining that the move wasn't one the energy company could make Monday night because critical infrastructure that runs through downtown needed to be protected.

WATCH: Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo gives her response on the bright skyline amid power outages
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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said she got on the phone with CenterPoint, and they told her they've figured out a way to pull the lights from the skyscrapers Tuesday night. But she said there's a reason it wasn't done sooner.



On Tuesday, BOMA, the Building Owners and Managers Association, sent this email to entities which operate downtown commercial properties:

"I hope this email finds you all safe and warm as we work through yet another unprecedented moment in history dealing with extreme weather here in Texas. By now, albeit not desirable, I am sure you are all becoming acclimated to the planned rolling power outages to conserve energy. As such, please continue to conserve energy to include shutting off lights in vacant spaces."

When we checked on Tuesday evening, the lights were considerably dimmer. Of course, there are also residential buildings and hotels downtown, as well as the George R. Brown Convention Center, which is serving as a warming shelter for residents in need.
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