KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH-AM covering local news from Houston and across Texas.


Lineman work to rebuild power grid following Beryl's chaos

Hurricane Beryl has left its mark on southern Texas and put millions in the dark.

As of Tuesday evening, 1.5 million CenterPoint Energy customers were still without power. At the peak Monday, around 2.7 million customers were without power, according to poweroutage.us. More than 2.4 million homes and businesses didn't have electricity by Monday night.

Energy Fellow at the University of Houston Ed Hirs said the distribution center took a massive hit.

"The wind, the trees and the limbs flying around shorted a lot of lines," he said.

Beryl's maximum sustained winds when it made landfall as a category 1 hurricane near Matagorda, Texas, early Monday morning were 80 mph. By the time the system reached Houston, it was a tropical storm with winds between 65 and 75 mph.

Hirs said with Beryl's arrival coming after a holiday weekend, some people may not have been prepared as they normally would be for a significant storm.

"It's just difficult to mobilize thousands of lineman to get into an area with equipment to rebuild a grid," said Hirs.

According to Hirs, CenterPoint has spent part of the year trying to strengthen it's system with "hurricane-proof" poles, but some residents have pushed back on those poles.

"It's a conflict between the need for reliable service and the aesthetics," Hirs said.

Burying lines is seen as being too expensive and an infrastructure nightmare. According to Hirs, it could cost $1 million per mile to bury power lines.

CenterPoint has not announced a clear timetable on when everyone will have their service restored but they said they wanted to get power back to more than one million customers by the end of the day Wednesday.

"It takes two to three weeks to make sure all the power lines are restored correctly and that service is extended to everybody that has a meter," Hirs added.

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