Centerpoint working to restore natural gas to City of Cleveland after outage affects 1,400 customers

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

CLEVELAND, Texas - The warming center at the Cleveland Civic Center is now closed after electric power was restored, and Centerpoint is working on restoring natural gas to homes and businesses, the City of Cleveland tweeted Thursday morning.

By Thursday afternoon, Centerpoint said it had completed the process of turning off each customer’s natural gas meter and performing safety checks to insure there is no risk involved in restoring gas service.

Technicians will come to your home and/or business between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. to turn on your gas meters.

Centerpoint said it expects most service to be restored by Friday afternoon.

"We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work to restore service to your community," Gary Chalk, district director for CenterPoint Energy, said via a statement.

Centerpoint said at this time, no action is required on the part of the customer. If an adult over age 18 is not at the service address when a technician arrives, the company will leave a door hanger with instructions.

The statement also noted that all CenterPoint Energy technicians and contractors wear badges and will show them to you upon request before entering your home or business. 

Natural gas technicians from across the Houston area and other parts of the state converged on Cleveland to help restore service to customers who are without heat on one of the coldest nights of the season.

"There's a lot that goes through my mind right now," resident Jerry Bothof, who does have heat, said. "I feel for those individuals that don't have heat tonight and I just wish the best for them."

About 1,400 customers lost their heat after the cold weather caused a natural gas regulator to fail.

Technicians brought in temporary natural gas in canisters to give relief to those customers.

The most vulnerable on the list were first to receive the temporary fix. That included a home which had a resident in hospice. Hospitals, urgent care facilities, and nursing homes also are getting temporary relief.

For those who still don't have heat, the city opened the Cleveland Civic Center Wednesday night as a warming center. The emergency management coordinator didn't expect a full house, and as of 10 p.m. Wednesday night no one came to the warming center.

"I've found out they've been to several businesses in town and bought up everything they can buy up," Glenn Barhill, the emergency management coordinator for the city of Cleveland, said. "They've done that with an idea they gonna stay at their house and take care of things. And that's OK. That's what I would've done."

CenterPoint Energy said Wednesday night that it would be at least until Thursday before heat is restored to all customers. Temperatures are expected to remain near freezing, but in the coming days, are expected to rise -- possibly into the 70s -- by Saturday.

Now that the regulator is repaired, they now need to make sure the natural gas distribution lines are clear of air. Once the lines are clear, technicians conduct safety checks.

The city of Cleveland tweeted that the process of relighting would begin at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.

To perform the inspections, technicians will need to go door-to-door and enter each home or business to restore service.

If an adult over the age 18 is not at the service address when a technician arrives, the company will leave a door hanger with instructions.

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