Fake energy workers looking to get inside homes without power, HPD chief says

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As thousands of people sit at home without power due to Houston's winter storm, police say fake energy company workers are looking for their next target.

According to a tweet posted by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo on Monday, the police department has received reports of people pretending to be CenterPoint Energy workers.

"We have reports of scofflaws impersonating [CenterPoint Energy] employees to gain access to homes to victimize occupants," wrote Acevedo. "Restoring outages in our area due to severe weather does not require entering residences."

On Tuesday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas warned scammers are also taking to social media to prey on the vulnerable, asking energy customers to text their private account numbers.

ERCOT said it does not need any information from customers affected by the outages to get the power back on.

Texas' power grid experienced a systemwide failure Monday morning as demand surged due to the historic winter conditions across the state.

Grid managers declared an emergency after the record-breaking energy use strained utilities beyond capacity.

Outages across Texas, once expected to last for hours, have now stretched into days due to multiple power generation plants that are offline, according to officials. An estimated 75% of Texas' power generation capacity is impacted.

Acevedo is asking anyone who sees suspicious behavior in their neighborhood to call 911 immediately.
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