CenterPoint Energy Assess Storm Damage, Begins Restoring Service

CenterPoint Energy begins restoration efforts after over 440,000 customers lost power due to the impact of Hurricane Nicholas in Greater Houston and surrounding areas.

The storm intensified overnight with strong sustained winds that exceeded more than 75 miles per hour and gusts over 90 miles per hour, resulting in widespread outages throughout CenterPoint Energy's service area. The most significant impact has been on the company's southern, central and eastern service areas.

CenterPoint Energy's crews have begun their damage assessment and service restoration process. The restoration process begins with facilities vital to safety, health and welfare, such as hospitals, water treatment plants and public service facilities. After key facilities, the company follows its priority restoration process by making repairs to electrical facilities that will return power to the largest number of customers first, then continue the restoration process by prioritizing repairs to benefit the greatest number of customers, until power is returned to everyone.

"We are committed to restoring service to our customers as safely and quickly as possible. However, patience will be important as some areas of our system and equipment may be difficult to reach for our crews due to safety-related issues, such as downed trees," said Kenny Mercado, executive vice president of electric utility at CenterPoint Energy. "Customers do not need to call us to report outages, our smart meters tell us which customers are out. We ask that everyone to please keep phone lines open for electric or natural gas emergency calls only."

In addition, CenterPoint Energy is part of electric utility mutual assistance programs that provide access to thousands of linemen and tree trimmers from around the country to support restoration efforts during widespread power outage emergencies. The company has requested mutual assistance crews to assist with restoration efforts and is prepared to activate four or more staging sites across Houston.

Scott Doyle, executive vice president of natural gas, said, "Our natural gas distribution system in the Greater Houston area is functioning normally; however, crews are responding to natural gas leak calls primarily due to toppled trees which have uprooted gas lines.

"Customers need to call us if they smell natural gas or see a damaged line," he added. "Gas Operations crews have begun system assessment system where the storm has passed and it's safe to do so."

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