Power outages: Nearly all CenterPoint Energy Customers with power, utilities company says

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a news conference in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 18, 2021. (KXAN)

HOUSTON – State-mandated blackouts left over 2 million Texans without power during the coldest weather the state has seen in decades. More than half of those homes left in the dark and cold were in the Houston area.

The situation has improved overnight, but according to ERCOT, rotating outages could continue as more people continue to come back online Thursday.

Here is how to track power outages across Southeast Texas.

  • CenterPoint Energy services most of the Houston area and Southeast Texas. Click here to view the company’s outage tracker. You can report outages by calling 713-207-2222.
  • Entergy services parts of Southeast Texas north and east of Houston. Click here to view the company’s outage tracker. You can report outages by calling 800-968-8243.
  • TNMP services an area from near Manvel to Texas City and from Sweeny to Holiday Lakes. Click here to view the company’s outage tracker. You can report outages by calling 888-866-7456.

Here are the latest updates about the power outages.

8:50 a.m. -- Nearly all CenterPoint Energy Customers with power, utilities company says

At the peak of the power outage emergency, approximately 1.4 million total CenterPoint Energy customers were impacted. As of 8:30 a.m. Friday, approximately 1.39 million customers have had their power restored, the utilities company reported. Some 7,000 customers remain without power.

“CenterPoint Energy’s customer outage numbers will continue to stabilize as the company works diligently and focuses on the remaining isolated outages, which in some cases can be attributed to damaged equipment from the severe winter weather event,” the utilities company said in a statement released Friday morning. “The majority of these outages are expected to be restored by the end of the day. In other instances, outages may be attributed to routine service issues that occur on CenterPoint Energy’s system. The company will also be focused on addressing these outages as safely and quickly as possible.”

8:40 a.m. -- ERCOT expects to come out of emergency conditions Friday morning

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) announced it expects to come out of emergency conditions later Friday morning.

“There is enough generation on the electric system to allow us to begin to return to more normal operating conditions,” said Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin.

No additional outages were needed overnight to keep “power supply and electric demand in balance,” although some generating units “tripped,” ERCOT said in a statement.

Customers that are still without power likely fall into one of these three categories, according to ERCOT:

  • Areas out due to ice storm damage on the distribution system
  • Areas that were taken out of service due to the energy emergency load shed that need to be restored manually (i.e., sending a crew to the location to reenergize the line)
  • Large industrial facilities that voluntarily went offline to help during this energy emergency

As of 7:30 this morning, approximately 34,000 MW of generation remains on forced outage due to this winter weather event, according to ERCOT. Of that, nearly 20,000 MW is thermal generation and the rest is wind and solar.

3:58 p.m. -- Abbott says power has been restored to most homes in Texas

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that power has been restored to an additional 2 million homes in the state that were left in the dark and cold for days by state-mandated blackouts.

Abbott said the 325,000 homes and businesses that do not have power at this time are because of downed power lines or the necessity of a manual connection to the power grid.

The governor said that another frigid night is on the way and Texans may still have to deal with the uncertainty at some power plants. However, he said he his hopeful that the state is nearing the end of this winter weather crisis.

The governor also said he has added two more emergency items to the Legislature’s agenda. One calls for winterization procedures at power plants to be mandated. The other calls for money to be set aside to make that happen.

“All of us agree on the necessity of action,” Abbott said regarding conversations he has had with lawmakers.

Abbott said the state is also working with water providers to ensure that clean water is flowing once again.

“We will not stop until normalcy is returned to your lives,” Abbott said.

You can watch a replay of his news conference below.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott provides an update on the winter storm.

11:58 p.m. -- CenterPoint reports just over 30,000 customers without power

CenterPoint Energy reported that just a little more than 30,000 customers were without power as of this post. The utility company also reported that 98.85% of its customers have power at this time.

Officials said they expect more power plants to come online during Thursday, which should help to stabilize the system and allow more and more customers to come back online.

10:00 a.m. - ERCOT shares update on outages, what’s next

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) officials held a news conference Thursday to address the current power situation in Texas, saying there is a possibility that outages could continue if demand outstrips supply as people come back online.

You can read more about the news conference here.

8:39 a.m. - Under 50,000 CenterPoint customer now without power

CenterPoint Energy has been working to restore power to customers, and there are now only 43, 139 customers who are still without power. According to the website, the systemwide reliability performance is at 98.37%.

6:42 a.m. - Companies no longer allowed to leave customers without power for more than 12 hours

During an emergency meeting last night the Texas Public Utility Commission passed a new rule that says transmission and distribution companies like CenterPoint can not cut customers’ electricity for more than 12 hours at a time. The new rule takes effect immediately.

5:26 a.m. - Fewer than 110,000 CenterPoint customer without power

The CenterPoint Energy outage tracker is reporting that as of 5 a.m., there are 107,020 customers who are still without power. In all of Texas, the state is reporting 624,366 state outages.

CenterPoint says there is now 127,312 customers without power.

1:27 a.m. - CenterPoint Energy reports less than 200,000 customers without power

As of early Thursday morning, CenterPoint Energy is now reporting 163,138 customers without power.

10:27 p.m. -- Number of CenterPoint customers without power drops below 1 million

As of this post, CenterPoint is reporting nearly 675,000 customers without power. It’s the first time that number has fallen below 1 million since the state-mandated blackouts started. According to CenterPoint, power is being restored to more homes after the Electric Reliability Council of Texas reported more power plants coming back online.

Even as that is happening, CenterPoint is urging customers to conserve as much power as possible so that more homes can have their power restored and to lower the chance that rollbacks will be needed.

8:01 p.m. -- ERCOT says ‘significant progress’ could be made overnight at restoring power

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said progress is being made at restoring power to the millions of Texans who have been in the cold in dark for three days.

ERCOT officials said about 8,000 megawatts of the power missing from grid was restored Wednesday, which equates to enough energy for 1.6 million homes. More power plants have also come online, which has allowed the agency to restore about 1,000 megawatts per hour.

“We’re at a point in the restoration where we’re going to keep energizing circuits as fast as we safely can until we run out of available generation,” said ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin. “We hope to make significant progress overnight.”

Officials said it is possible that rotating blackouts, rather than keeping homes without power for extended periods of time, may be possible by Thursday morning.

According to ERCOT, about 43,000 MW of power is still missing from the grid. Most of that -- 26,500 MW -- is from thermal sources, like gas and coal, while 17,000 MW is from wind and solar.

5:45 p.m. -- CenterPoint urges energy conservation as power service is slowly restored

CenterPoint Energy is urging customers Wednesday to conserve power until midnight as service is slowly restored to more and more homes in the Houston area.

Officials at CenterPoint said the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has added more power to the state’s grid. Officials said this will allow more homes to have their power turned back on.

“We are ready to restore service to our customers,” said Kenny Mercado, executive vice president of CenterPoint. “Introducing this demand too rapidly could result in additional service interruptions and safety risks for both electric and natural gas customers.”

Mercado said this conservation request is “an immediate call to action” for CenterPoint customers.

4:24 p.m. -- Abbott says more power plants are coming back online

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday afternoon that more power plants that were taken offline by frigid weather are coming back online.

Abbott said about 6,000 megawatts of power was added back to the grid on Wednesday. He said that is enough energy to power 1.2 million homes. He said more power will be added to the grid as a nuclear plant and a coal plant that were frozen come back online Wednesday night.

The governor said he has also signed an order that requires companies that harvest natural gas in Texas to sell that gas to power plants in the state instead of shipping it out of state. He said that order is in effect until Feb. 21.

Abbott said about 18,900 megawatts of gas power have been missing from the grid because of mechanical issues or lack of natural gas supply. He said about 17,200 megawatts of power from renewable resources have been missing from the grid because of frozen wind turbines and lack of sunshine at solar plants.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott provides an update on how the state is responding to the winter storm.

2:53 p.m. -- ExxonMobil says Baytown plant is feeding power back to the grid now

ExxonMobil announced Wednesday that its plant in Baytown is shutting down because of the weather and a curtail of natural gas supplies throughout the state.

The company said this shutdown has allowed the plant to feed more than 200 megawatts of electricity back to the state’s grid. That’s enough energy to power 100,000 homes, according to the company.

The company saying flaring operations will continue to ensure the safety of the plant and surrounding community.

12:12 p.m. -- ERCOT says an improvement in the weather will determine how fast power can be restored

Officials at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Wednesday an improvement in the weather will determine how fast power can be restored.

ERCOT is the agency charged with managing the state’s electric grid. It is also the same agency that mandated blackouts that started late Sunday and early Monday.

Officials said that as of Wednesday, there are still 46,000 megawatts of power missing from Texas’ electric system -- 28,000 of those are from gas and coal power plants and 18,000 are from renewable sources such as wind and solar.

ERCOT officials said weather and its impact on power plants is the primary reason 185 plants have gone offline at various times during the crisis. They said some protection equipment at plants have frozen, while other plants are having difficulty getting water into the system. They said these plants amount to about 40% of the power generators scattered across Texas that have gone offline at some point.

Officials said warming weather is likely the biggest factor in getting power plants back online.

ERCOT is holding a Q & A session regarding power outages across the state.

11:19 a.m. -- CenterPoint still has 1.4 million customers without power

As of 11 a.m., CenterPoint Energy still has 1.4 million customers without power as the state-mandated blackouts are entering their third day. CenterPoint said the state’s entire electric system “is facing an unprecedented power shortage.” Officials said the outages are expected to last for at least the rest of Wednesday.

10 a.m. -- ERCOT restores power to some 700,000 households overnight but suffers more setbacks

Overnight, ERCOT was able to restore approximately 3,500 MW of load, roughly 700,000 households. However, some of that was lost when the Midwest experienced its own power emergency and ERCOT was no longer able to import approximately 600 MW, the agency said in a Wednesday morning statement.

“We know millions of people are suffering,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness in a statement. “We have no other priority than getting them electricity. No other priority.”

Wednesday morning, ERCOT instructed local utilities to shed 14,000 MW of load representing around 2.8 million households.

“Although we’ve reconnected more consumers back to the grid, the aggregate energy consumption of customers (those recently turned back on and those already on) is actually lower this morning compared to yesterday because it’s less cold,” said ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin in a statement. “However, we are anticipating another cold front this evening which could increase the demand.”

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, approximately 46,000 MW of generation has been forced off the system. Of that, 28,000 MW is thermal and 18,000 MW is wind and solar, according to ERCOT.

9:20 a.m. -- CenterPoint says power being restored to some customers ‘on a rotating basis’

The statewide power generation emergency continues to cause extended electric outages for CenterPoint Energy customers across the Houston area.

In a Wednesday morning statement, CenterPoint said power “is being restored by CenterPoint Energy in intervals of time on a rotating basis,” as power supply conditions allow. Electricity may be on and off periodically.

“We recognize that many of our customers are experiencing serious hardships due to the extended outages and we share their frustration that adequate power hasn’t been available for us to deliver to our customers,” said Kenny Mercado, CenterPoint Energy’s Executive Vice President, Electric Utility. “We appreciate their continued patience. We are working diligently to safely mitigate the extended outages as generating capacity from power producers in our region becomes available.”

CenterPoint said outages may persist or expand if it is directed to reduce electricity on its system, the energy provider stated.

9:00 a.m. -- CenterPoint says 1.39 million customers are without power

In a tweet Wednesday morning, CenterPoint Energy said there are 1.39 million customers without power. They urged those who do have power to conserve as much electricity as possible.

9:20 p.m. -- CenterPoint says 1.38 million customers are without power

In a tweet, CenterPoint Energy said there are 1.38 million customers without power as of 9 p.m. Tuesday. They asked people who do have power to conserve as much electricity as possible.

5:56 p.m. -- CenterPoint tells people to prepare for more outages

In a tweet Tuesday, CenterPoint said people should prepare for more power outages after the Electric Reliability Council of Texas mandated another reduction in demand.

“Customers should be make (making) preparations now for possible additional outages,” the tweet read.

CenterPoint said it is ready to restore power once there is sufficient supply.

5:54 p.m. -- Hidalgo says people without power could stay that way for a while

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said that people who do not have power right now could be in that situation for several more days.

Hidalgo said that CenterPoint is reporting 1.2 million people without power, which is roughly the same as it was yesterday. She said CenterPoint’s system is ready to distribute power to homes as soon as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas lifts the mandated blackouts.

In the meantime, Hidalgo said she needs more clarity from ERCOT officials and called them overly optimistic.

“Whether you have power or not right now, there’s a possibility of power outages even beyond the length of this weather,” Hidalgo said.

Hidalgo said that when this event is over, Texans “deserve” answers about what led up to the mandated blackouts.

3:56 p.m. -- Rollbacks of restoration possible as power plants still having trouble coming back

Rollbacks of the power that has been restored to some left in the cold and dark because of state-mandated blackouts are possible Tuesday night.

Officials at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said that not as many power plants have come back online as they expected. They said as some power plants come back online, others go offline. That means there could be another large imbalance of supply and demand on the grid which is what prompted the blackouts in the first place.

As of Tuesday, between 2 and 3 million Texans are without power.

Officials said about 45,000 megawatts of power is missing from the system right now. About 16,000 of that is from renewable resources like wind and solar and about 30,000 of that is from more nonrenewable resources like natural gas and coal.

The news comes after ERCOT announced an additional 400,000 homes were able to have service restored Tuesday.

Officials said they are using controlled blackouts to prevent an uncontrolled event from which would take a long time to recover.

ERCOT officials said they welcome an investigation into the blackouts and they promised cooperation with the effort.

3:27 p.m. -- Patrick confirms state Senate will investigate power outages

In a tweet Tuesday, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said he shares the frustrations of Texans over the power outages during the winter storm.

“Millions of people without power during this arctic blast is life-threatening and unacceptable,” Patrick said in the state. “We must get to the bottom of this to be sure we are better prepared even if an unprecedented weather event happens again.”

Patrick said the Senate Business and Commerce Committee will move forward with hearings on the matter.

2:10 p.m. -- Abbott calls for investigation of ERCOT

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is calling for an investigation into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the organization in charge of managing the state’s power grid.

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable.”

Abbott said he has designated ERCOT reform an emergency item for the Texas Legislature and that he wants an investigation of the agency to determine why it was unprepared for the winter storm.

Read more about Abbott’s statement here.

1:56 p.m. -- CenterPoint executive talks about power outages

KPRC 2′s Amy Davis spoke with CenterPoint Vice President Kenny Mercado about the lengthy power outages and what the company is doing to get power restored.

The bottom line, CenterPoint is waiting for power plants taken offline by the storm to be working again so that more power is available to send to homes that have been blacked out for more than a day.

You can watch Davis’ full interview here.

12:20 p.m. -- 400,000 homes getting power back

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said in a tweet Tuesday that generation availability is improving and about 400,000 homes have had their power turned back on within the past hour.

Some of those homes appeared to be in the Galveston area, where officials said part of the West End, downtown and East End have had power restored.

10:30 a.m. -- ERCOT offers tips to those getting power back after day of blackout

Families who’ve waited in the cold hoping for the power to switch back on are getting a warning from ERCOT. That word of caution is not to turn on everything all at once if you don’t want to lose power again.

ERCOT says they expect some customers to be restored this afternoon.

At this time, CenterPoint Energy reports nearly 1.4 million customers remain without lights in our region.

CenterPoint Energy sites the entire Texas electric system facing an unprecedented power shortage for the ongoing outages.

Officials have ordered blackouts across Texas after record demand and failing power plants have combined to spell problems for the state’s grid.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is responsible for maintaining the supply/demand balance on the state’s grid. A spokesman for the agency said a record demand of 69,222 megawatts was hit between 7 and 8 p.m. Sunday. That was followed by several power plants going offline in rapid progression, he said. At 1:25 a.m., the agency activated its highest alert level when the power reserves dropped, he said.

The spokesman said that ERCOT has directed the transmission companies to reduce the load on the state’s grid by designated amounts based on the amount of power they draw from the system. He said it is up to the transmission companies to decide how to best reduce their draw on the grid.

Restoration times are still unknown, but KPRC 2 has heard from people in Northwest Harris County who have had power come back on Tuesday morning for the first time in more than 24 hours.

Mayor Turner expresses frustration about ongoing outages

Abbott responds on Monday

In an interview with KPRC 2, Abbott said officials had been preparing for a week ahead of a winter storm that has now crippled the state’s electrical system. He said the problems started when several power plants that are responsible for generating power for the state froze up.

Abbott said power has been restored to several hundred thousand homes and he expects more homes to get power back again soon. However, the governor did not say where in the state those homes will be located.

The governor said the only shortcoming, in this case, is with the companies responsible for generating power. He said officials will be working to determine how to prevent such failures in the future.

CenterPoint explains what’s going on

Kenny Mercado, executive vice president for CenterPoint Energy, which transmits power to most of Southeast Texas, said the blackouts cannot be rotated any longer because the supply is not available to move the power around the system.

“This is a very serious situation, and we do not want the system to go down,” Mercado said. “We’ve got to keep a balance. We have to keep the load demand balanced across Houston, and not only that, but balanced across the entire state of Texas, and we’re watching it very closely.”

Mercado said that the CenterPoint customers that have power are part of the emergency service areas, which include things like water and sewer plants, hospitals, police and 911 centers.

“We have all these important loads that we have to preserve,” Mercado said.

By Monday afternoon, CenterPoint said that over 1.4 million of its customers were without power because of the blackouts. There were also 141,500 customers whose power outages were related to the storm and not the blackouts. CenterPoint serves about 2.6 million customers.

In a statement, CenterPoint officials said that the outages will last at least the rest of Monday.

CenterPoint released the following tweets and a statement on Monday.

Here’s the full statement from CenterPoint:

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which is responsible for scheduling power and ensuring the reliability of the electrical network in Texas, has declared a statewide power generation shortfall emergency. As a result, immediately following ERCOT’s directive to curtail delivery of power to customers, CenterPoint Energy started controlled outages in its service territory. CenterPoint Energy is complying with ERCOT’s directive to reduce load at this time. Due to the level of that requirement, customers may experience outages that are longer than previously anticipated. The controlled outages are planned emergency measures designed to avoid more widespread power outages for customers. Like other electric utilities across Texas, CenterPoint Energy is taking offline or curtailing electricity across its service territory in order to achieve the load reduction required by ERCOT. CenterPoint Energy will continue to update customers through local media outlets and its social media channels, Twitter (@CNPalerts) and Facebook. The company urges consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use to the lowest level possible. For steps customers can take to reduce their energy use, visit http://www.ercot.com/about/conservation.”

Outages affecting water service for some

Todd Burrer, vice president of Texas municipal utility districts for Inframark, said the water outages for the MUDs in and around the Houston area that are managed by his company are related to power outages. He said the diesel generators that are normally used in a situation like this cannot keep up with the power needed to keep the water flowing. He said water likely won’t be restored until the power is restored.

There are about 400 MUDs in the Houston area.

Criminals impersonating power workers

Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said in a tweet that officers have gotten reports of criminals who are impersonating power workers.

“Restoring outages in our area due to the severe weather does not require entering residences,” Acevedo said in a tweet.

Acevedo said people should call 911 if they observe suspicious behavior.

More videos

People are waiting for power to be restored as a second night of freezing temperatures.
State-mandated blackouts have left about 2 million Texans without power during the coldest weather the state has seen in decades. More than half of those homes left in the dark and cold are in the Houston area.
Millions of people across Texas are without power Monday because of blackouts that have been ordered due to high demand.

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.