Power companies are warning customers about the potential for power outages caused by Tropical Storm Nicholas that could potentially last a day or two.

CenterPoint Energy and Texas-New Mexico Power, which manage the poles and power infrastructure in the county, warned residents to prepare, though company officials hope crews will be able to get on the roads early to restore any lost power, they said.

Texas-New Mexico power is warning of the possibility of 24 hours to 48 hours without electricity, spokesman Eric Paul said.

“We’re planning for the possibility of multi-day outages and we recommend that customers do the same,” Paul said. “That said, we’re hoping it won’t be one of those types of events.”

The company serves the mainland communities of Dickinson, Friendswood, La Marque, League City and Texas City.

CenterPoint Energy also is anticipating the possibility of outages.

“The biggest threat continues to be flooding,” said Kenny Mercado, executive vice president of the electric utility. “As always with severe weather, we encourage our customers to prepare to be without power and have an emergency plan in place, especially those who depend on electricity for life-sustaining equipment.”

How quickly crews are able to restore power will depend on the flooded conditions of the roads and the path of the storm, Paul said.

“Some customers also could experience an outage, have power restored, then be affected by another outage,” Paul said.

Both CenterPoint and Texas-New Mexico warned that if flooding is severe, crews could be delayed in their efforts to restore any power.

“Our crews may be facing some hazardous road conditions, so we ask for our customers’ patience while we work to restore their service,” Mercado said.

The company is closing flood gates and moving equipment to higher ground to try to keep substations dry, spokeswoman Alejandra Diaz said.

In Monday morning statements, Texas-New Mexico specifically pointed out that extreme weather would not be like the February winter freeze during which millions of customers lost power when unusually prolonged cold weather caused demand for electricity to exceed supply.

“Winter storm memories remain fresh for everyone, but please know that this isn’t like February,” the company said in a statement. “This is like Harvey, Ike, Allison and many others you know well — but hopefully smaller — in which wind, lightning and more can cause damage to or otherwise interfere with our equipment.”

If residents’ homes do flood, they should take some precautions before using electrical equipment, Diaz said.

Residents should stay away from downed power lines and check with a professional before turning on wet electronics or turning on the main circuit breaker, Diaz said.

Users of natural gas also should check for natural gas odors and not turn off natural gas at the meter, to avoid the possibility of water entering the line, she said.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.


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(1) comment

JD Arnold

I have often wondered why the power companies have not transitioned to underground services. With todays technology of directional drilling and pvc casings, it seems like a no brainer to me. Billions of dollars are spent to improve the grid but they continue to install overhead lines. Just seems that most outages are due to tree or wind damages to the lines.

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