Keeping the Power on Next Time

Since Hurricane Ike there has been many state, city and county meetings dealing with the storm. They've all dealt with different issues, but their purpose is to improve things when the next big one hits. Today's topic was electricity. Bill Stamps has more.
"Cedric Delane passed away September 14, 2008, due in part to a lack of electricity and not being identified as part of the vulnerable class of people that needed assistance. Cedric was a 5th grade student at Blackshear Elementary in Houston, Texas. He was an asthmatic and suffered a severe attack during Hurricane Ike. The lack of electrical power prevented the use of his breathing machine, which could possibly have saved his life."

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee told that story just before she announced she's introducing a new bill in congress she hopes will become law. Ms. Jackson Lee wants to be able to punish electrical companies that violate certain standards when it comes to keeping the power on after a natural disaster.

"I think one of the issues that I hope will be recommended is reliability standards. And enforcing those reliability standards. So that there is tree cutting, so that there is an assessment of what you move away from flood areas."

Committee meetings can get very boring as members go over every detail of things most people may not care about. In this case, what most people want to know is…will my power stay on during the next storm. Miles McKenney took the opportunity to express his frustration with the communication system.

"Put in some sort of public regulatory radio station, or something, that all citizens can hear. That all citizens can get the facts from Centerpoint, or Intergy, or Texas New Mexico power and know what's going on. For those of you who suffered the frustration of hearing your local cowboy DJ say the power in such and such zip code will be on tomorrow, and then it's not on tomorrow — it's terribly frustrating."

Bill Stamps, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.