July 23rd, 2024

Houston utility says 500K customers still won’t have electricity next week as Beryl outages persist

By Nadia Lathan, The Associated Press on July 11, 2024.

People fill gas cans the day after Hurricane Beryl made landfall nearby Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Freeport, Texas. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – About 500,000 customers still won’t have electricity into next week as wide outages from Hurricane Beryl persist and frustration mounts over the pace of restoration, an official with Houston’s biggest power utility said Thursday.

Jason Ryan, executive vice president of CenterPoint Energy, said power has been restored to more than 1 million homes and businesses since Beryl made landfall on Monday. The company expects to get hundreds of thousands of more customers back online in the coming days, but others will wait much longer, he said.

The Category 1 hurricane – the weakest type – knocked out power to around 2.7 million customers after it made landfall in Texas on Monday, according to PowerOutage.us.

CenterPoint Energy has struggled to restore power to affected customers, who have grown frustrated that such a relatively weak storm could cause such disruption at the height of summer.

Beryl has has been blamed for at least eight U.S. deaths – one each in Louisiana and Vermont, and six in Texas. Earlier, 11 died in the Caribbean.

Even though it was relatively weak compared to other hurricanes that blew through Houston in recent years, it still managed to knock out power to much of the nation’s fourth-largest city during a period of stifling heat and humidity.

___ Lathan is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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