Thousands of people in southeast Houston ended up hit with a natural gas outage Thursday night and some had to deal with it through Saturday, said officials at CenterPoint Energy.
At its peak, the outage affected about 2,500 customers between Highway 288 and Cullen, north and south of Beltway 8. It began Thursday evening.
More than 100 CenterPoint workers set up a temporary command center at a Jack in the Box off Cullen. They’re coordinating their visits to the areas affected. Around 10 p.m. Thursday, CenterPoint Energy said about half its customers who lost service now have it back. That number would be higher if more people were home when crews came by to turn the power on.
“We realize it’s cold outside. We realize it’s an inconvenience,” CenterPoint spokeswoman Alicia Dixon said. “It is a time-consuming process because we physically have to go to each individual meter.”
Dixon said each affected home or business has to be visited twice, once to make sure everything’s off and not leaking. Then another visit is required to turn service back on and check pilot lights.
The company said customers should turn off all appliances, even if they’re still getting a trickle of gas.
“Turn off that log. Turn off that gas stove if you were cooking breakfast just as a precaution,” Dixon said.
She said you don’t want your home filling with gas once service is restored. Dixon also warns against trying to investigate or repair the issue yourself — wait for the pros.
“Don’t even risk it,” she said. “If they smell natural gas, they really need to leave immediately and call CenterPoint Energy and 911.”
In the case of a large outage, there’s no need to call the gas company, unless you detect that distinct odor, she said.
“That’s why we odorize the gas, so customers can smell even the smallest amount.”
The company is investigating the cause of the outage.