BLOG: Hurricane Harvey Safety Advisory & Power Restoration Update

Exercise extreme caution when turning power on or off at the meter after a flood.

Remember: always exercise extreme caution when dealing with electricity during a flood.

“When possible, we recommend that you contact a licensed electrician to advise and assist during flood conditions in turning power off at the breaker box and back on,” advises CenterPoint, the Houston-based utility.

The utility also cautions that if it appears flood waters will reach the power outlets “that you cut off power at the breaker box ONLY if you are able to do so safely and without standing in water.”

CenterPoint said it already has restored power to hundreds of thousands of customers, although high waters and debris continue hampering its efforts. The utility said its natural gas system was functioning normally, although difficult conditions on the ground likewise were keeping it from responding to some leak calls.

The other big Texas utility impacted this week by Hurricane Harvey, AEP Texas, said it has restored 10 transmission lines and 20 transmission stations, but another 55 transmission lines and 44 stations remained out of service. AEP serves the Corpus Christi area.

“Assessment and restoration efforts have been hampered by the weather (e.g. inability to fly helicopters to assess impact on facilities, etc.) but the transmission team has been able to assess about 70% of its transmission equipment in the affected areas,” the utility said in a message on its website.

As of 9 p.m. Tuesday, about 116,000 AEP customers in the Coastal Bend area remained without power, according to the utility. That included more than 41,000 in the hard hit Aransas Pass/Rockport area.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday issued a proclamation allowing public utilities to enter and use private property and public easements to restore power to storm-stricken areas.

— R.A. Dyer