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Houston power outages: CenterPoint releases outage map; 1.3 million still without power after Beryl


More than 1.3 million CenterPoint Energy customers were still out of power on Wednesday morning, nearly two days after Hurricane Beryl knocked out power for more than 2 million.

The company has so far restored power to more than 850,000 customers, and is on track to restore at least one million customers by Wednesday.

CenterPoint published a map late Tuesday that provides a status of energy restoration efforts in Houston. The map indicates areas that currently have energy, areas where assessment is in progress and areas where circuits are assigned for repair.

Wednesday, the map display indicated streets in downtown Houston, West University Place and other central Houston neighborhoods that have been restored.

RELATED: Houston's hottest question: When will my power be back on after Hurricane Beryl?

However, the veracity of the map has been questioned by customers on social media. The map also does not have any timeline on when outages would be restored. Company officials say they’re still completing a damage assessment and cannot provide details about a timeline.

The company has come under intense criticism for its handling of the outages and communication with customers. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, when asked if the company was ready, said he’s asked for details about CenterPoint’s preps.

"CenterPoint will have to answer for themselves if they were prepared and positioned. The state was positioned and prepared. I'll tell you whether I'm satisfied or not when I have a full report," Patrick said on Tuesday.

Outages addressed so far were related to the company’s distribution system, designed to lock out in order to prevent further damage, according to CenterPoint.

Citing technical challenges and an increase of webpage traffic, CenterPoint removed its original outage tracker map from the company’s website in May, after a deadly derecho left nearly 1 million customers without power. Some Houstonians decided to get crafty this week after a social media user noted the Whataburger app could serve as a de facto power outage map, since it shows which fast-food locations are open and which are closed in the wake of Hurricane Beryl.

RELATED: What-a-power: Houston-area residents hungry for outage info turn to Whataburger app map

In a press release, CenterPoint said the company’s overall system largely operated as intended despite Beryl “directly impacting a majority of the company’s 5,000-square-mile system, resulting in downed trees, branches and other debris affecting its distribution poles and wires.”

CenterPoint is assessing damage in southeast and northwest Houston, according to the outage map.

“We have made solid progress and exceeded the number of customer restorations following Hurricane Ike, but we have a lot of important work ahead, especially in the hardest-hit areas where the work will be more complex and time-consuming,” Lynnae Wilson, Senior Vice President of Electric Business said in a statement.

“We know we have a lot of customers counting on us to do our jobs as safely and quickly as possible, and that will continue to be our highest priority,” Wilson said.

Customers sweat it out

With temperatures projected to climb into the low 90's, many Fort Bend residents entered their third day without power.

Customers packed the BlendIn Coffee Club in Sugar Land for a chance at WiFi and air conditioning. For many it was their third day without power after Beryl.
Natalie Weber
Houston Public Media
Customers packed the BlendIn Coffee Club in Sugar Land for a chance at WiFi and air conditioning. For many it was their third day without power after Beryl.

At the BlendIn Coffee Club in Sugar Land, customers packed the building for a chance at WiFi and air conditioning. Many worked from laptops or scrolled on their phones in an area where cell service flickered in and out.

Katrina Bolman came to the coffee shop with her fiance, after scrolling Instagram and seeing that the store was open.

"(We're) just trying to find a place to get some work done and get out of the heat," she said.

Aaron Atkinson is the shop's general manager and said it's their first day open since the hurricane. Atkinson has worked for the company since 2017 and he's been through other storms.

"This is actually the longest we've been without power," he said. "Previous to this, we've been able to keep power kind of during the other storms."

Thousands across the county still don't have power.

Natalie Weber contributed to this report.