With supply still too low, Centerpoint tries new strategy: Spread the Houston outages around
By Zach Despart February 16, 2021
With electricity supply still far too low to restore service to all customers, CenterPoint Energy has adopted a new strategy, an executive said Tuesday afternoon: spreading outages around.
The change is aimed at restoring power for some customers who have been without it for almost 48 hours by shifting sustained outages to those who have so far had service, said Jason Ryan, the utility’s senior vice president for regulatory affairs.
“We’ve been focusing on the customers who have been bearing the burden of this event from the beginning starting about 1:30 a.m. (Monday), and working through the list to transfer those outages who haven’t yet,” Ryan said at a news conference.
These new shutoffs, Ryan cautioned, are not the rolling blackouts that the utility had hoped to provide. Instead of brief blackouts lasting 15 minutes to an hour, the utility said customers who suddenly lose power should not expect the lights to come back on for 24 hours.
Some 1.2 million CenterPoint customers are in the dark as of Tuesday evening, about the same figure as a day earlier. Less than 5 percent of the outages were caused by the winter storm that swept through the region early Monday.