Power Outages Hit Houston Homes

Rolling power outages throughout the Houston region hit homes and schools hard today. Centerpoint Energy says the blackouts ended in the early afternoon, but state grid operators warn they could resume tonight and tomorrow. Carrie Feibel talked to one resident who experienced 8 hours of on-and-off-again power. He says he never expected this type of winter emergency in southeast Texas.
“I’m very surprised. We’re both from New England, I’m from Rhode Island she’s from Mass. We moved down here to get away from this kind of weather. And it seems to have followed us.”

Steve Bennett and his live in Garden Villas, a neighborhood near Hobby airport.

“We got up at 5:30 because the electric blanket went off. And I thought ‘Hey something’s wrong here.’ And I got and everything was off, completely. So I had to scramble around and figure out what was going on.”

Bennett and his wife have 11 cats and 7 dogs. They put blankets over some of the dog’s kennels, and turned on the gas oven to help heat the kitchen. Then they discovered that some of their pipes were frozen.

“But see here’s the hot water, nothing. It’s completely dead. I don’t know. It’s refusing to come. The plumber said it’s frozen and you’re gonna just have to wait for it to thaw out. So hopefully the sun will be out in the morning and it’ll thaw out.”

The couple lost power during Hurricane Ike, but they expected that. This situation has left Bennett feeling confused.

“I thought in the summertime with everybody cranking on their AC and that doesn’t tax the system so why would everybody turning on their heat to fight this cold, tax the system?”

Some utilities are reporting that the cold weather in North Texas has damaged the power plants.

“Now we’re all just frowning at the same time, because they’re up there dealing with the snow and we’re dealing with the cold down here.”

Bennett says he’s about had enough and he’s seriously considering buying a $5,000 gas-powered generator.
Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...