As of 9 p.m. last night, 18 days after Hurricane Ike passed through the area, CenterPoint Energy concluded its emergency operations plan, having restored power throughout its system, meeting the company’s initial projection to have service restored to its customers within two to three weeks. Restoration work continues for about 4,600 isolated cases including customers needing customer-owned equipment repairs. Many of the remaining outages involve customers unable to receive electric service due to damaged electrical equipment or flooding.
“I’d like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding during one of the most challenging restoration efforts in the history of our company,” said Tom Standish, group president of Regulated Operations. “Hurricane Ike mowed down 50-foot-tall trees and caused massive damage to the company’s 27,000-plus miles of distribution electric wires. With the help of more than 11,000 mutual assistance workers from all over the country and our own dedicated workforce, we reinstalled tens of thousands of feet of power lines that took us decades to build.”
Crews are continuing to respond to individual customer outage calls. Some of these outage cases are not expected to be resolved soon because the structure was severely damaged or destroyed. Over 93 percent or 2.15 million of the company’s 2.26 million customers lost power as a result of Hurricane Ike’s 110 mile-per-hour hurricane force winds.
In the first six days after the hurricane, CenterPoint Energy employees and mutual assistance crews restored power to one million customers, including key facilities vital to safety, health and welfare, such as hospitals, water treatment plants and public service facilities. As projected, within two weeks the company finished the major restoration of its electric system including the transmission, substation and distribution infrastructure and had restored power to over 2 million customers (95 percent of those affected by the outage).
Standish said that over the next few weeks the company will continue to maintain a mutual assistance workforce of about 3,000 to help the company’s own employees make long-term repairs on lines that received temporary fixes during the restoration process.
“I’m very proud of all our employees who had a hand in the restoration process, from the frontline forces to our employees behind the scenes who successfully tackled an immense logistical challenge to safely bring our customers’ lives back to normal as quickly and safely as possible,” added Standish.
A portion of the company’s workforce is transitioning to normal operations and will begin to execute routine service transactions such as move-ins, move-outs and meter reading.