CenterPoint Energy: Preparing for a Hurricane and its Aftermath


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CenterPoint Energy: Preparing for a Hurricane and its Aftermath

  1. 1. Scott ProchazkaDivision Senior Vice President, Electric Operations
  2. 2. About CenterPoint Energy   5,000 square-mile electric service territory   Serve 2+ million electric customers   Own and maintain electric delivery system – poles and wires   Serve 1+ million natural gas customers2
  3. 3. About CenterPoint Energy  CenterPoint Energy is responsible for restoring service no matter from which company you buy electricity  We are the only company that can restore service during power outages; our trained crews will work day and night to get you up and running after a storm  We are preparing for outages before they happen by investing in technology to more quickly and accurately pinpoint problemsHowever, there are a few things your constituents cando before and after a hurricane.3
  4. 4. How can you help your constituents prepare for an approaching hurricane and its aftermath?4
  5. 5. Pre-storm: Electric service tips  Unplug sensitive electrical appliances, such as computers and TVs.  If you expect flooding, turn off MAIN electricity at the circuit breaker.  If someone depends on electricity for life-sustaining equipment, you need to make alternative arrangements for them in advance.5
  6. 6. Pre-storm:Natural gas service tips  Do NOT turn off natural gas at the meter. Proper pressure in home/ business gas piping must be maintained to prevent water from entering the lines if flooding occurs.  If you choose to discontinue natural gas service - turn off gas at each appliance.6
  7. 7. How long should you prepare to be without power after a hurricane?7
  8. 8. Hurricane Outage Preparation Guide Prepare to be without power for:Category 1 winds 74-95 mph 7 to 10 daysCategory 2 winds 96-110 mph 2 to 3 weeksCategory 3 winds 111-130 mph 3 to 5 weeksCategory 4 winds 131-155 mph 4 to 6 weeksCategory 5 8 winds 156 mph and up 6 to 8 weeks
  9. 9. Remember - no two storms arealike   Specific damage to electric system will be different   It is not possible to forecast in advance what the exact damage to the electric system will be, so…   It is not possible to give precise outage duration estimates for individual locations in advance9
  10. 10. Actual Power Restoration Times  Hurricane Ike, September 2008 –  Made landfall as Category 2 –  2.1 of 2.2 million customers or 95% lost power –  After 5 days 50% of customers had power –  After 10 days 75% of customers had power –  18 days to restore power to all customers  Hurricane Alicia, August 1983 –  Made landfall as Category 3 –  750,000 of 1.2 million customers or 62% lost power –  After 1 day 50% of customers had power –  After 3 days 75% of customers had power –  16 days to restore power to all customers10
  11. 11. Emergency Operating Plan –With over 100 years experience, weprepare year-round  The goal of our EOP is to safely restore service to our customers - quickly and efficiently  In addition to linemen and local contractors, our EOP includes virtually every Houston employee even those who do not traditionally work in the field  Through electric utility mutual assistance programs, we have access to thousands of linemen and tree trimmers from around the country  The company also works to ensure that we have access to lodging, fuel, food, supplies and equipment11
  12. 12. Electric infrastructure withHurricane Ike damage shown 12
  13. 13. Glossary  Circuits – Main power lines carrying bulk electricity from substations that deliver electricity from one subdivision to the next (usually serve 1,000 or more customers).  Laterals – Smaller power lines branching off main circuit feeders to deliver electricity to individual segments of an area (usually serve fewer than 100 customers).  Service drops – low voltage lines running from the utility pole to individual homes. Usually made up of two 120-volt lines and a neutral (can be connected to either a main circuit feeder or a branch lateral)  Weatherhead – a weatherproof electrical service point for overhead electrical service (customer owns this equipment)13
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. Systematic Power Restoration  First – restore service to key facilities vital to public safety, health and welfare, and secure downed power lines  Second – repair major lines (circuits & laterals) plus fuses that restore power to greatest number of customers in least amount of time  Third– repair transformers, which typically serve 10 customers  Finally – repair individual service drop to homes 15
  16. 16. I can understand and agree with your approach, but why is it taking so long to restore my service?16
  17. 17. Why is my service out and the people acrossthe street have their lights on? Power line serves up to 800 customers Power line serves up to 800 customers
  18. 18. How will CenterPoint Energy communicate with elected officials?18
  19. 19. Post-storm Elected OfficialCommunications  Daily elected official conference calls  Regular updates on outage status and restoration forecast  Zip code maps - What do they mean - What are their limitations?19
  20. 20. :Outage Tracker can be usedtoday  CenterPoint Energy’s Customer Outage Tracker displays current outage locations and estimated time to restore power.
  21. 21. Estimated restorationtimeline by substation 21
  22. 22. Estimated restoration timeline by substation w/zip code overlay22
  23. 23. Estimated restoration timeline by circuit w/zip code overlay23
  24. 24. CenterPoint Energy’s SmartMeters help restore power faster  CenterPoint Energy has installed over a million smart meters to date, and will have all smart meters fully deployed by mid 2012.  In the future, all smart meters will automatically notify CenterPoint Energy when the power goes out, reducing dependency on customer calls.24
  25. 25. Additional communicationtoolsIn the event of a severe weather emergency such as a hurricane,CenterPoint Energy will use various social media outlets to communicatewith the public.  In addition to the systemwide updates, CenterPoint Energy will use Twitter and Facebook to provide timely updates on when specific zip code regions can expect power to be restored.  Updates will focus on details such as estimated time frames for the power restoration of major traffic intersections and school districts.
  26. 26. How can elected officials help CenterPoint Energy?26
  27. 27. How can elected officialshelp?  Provide escorts for restoration crews and assist with traffic control  Remove debris and clear right-of-ways for easier access  Consider having daily conference calls with appropriate stakeholders to help prioritize restoration to key facilities  Communication is essential before, during and after a storm27
  28. 28. The storm is over. What should your constituents do to stay safe and prepare for power restoration?28
  29. 29. Post storm: If your lights are out  Please do NOT call us to report lights out; we need lines open for emergencies and downed power lines  Unplug all major appliances and turn the air conditioner off  Food in a freezer will stay frozen up to 36 hours if the door is kept closed  Keep a small lamp plugged in and turned on so youll know when power is restored  Once your electric service is restored, plug in your appliances first then turn on your air conditioner29
  30. 30. Post storm: If youevacuated, are your lights on?  DO NOT call us during the first few days  Instead: –  Call your answering machine to see if it picks up –  Call neighbors –  Monitor the news –  Check for general outage information30
  31. 31. Post-storm: Electric safety tips  DO call us to report a downed power line or other electric emergencies –  Always stay away from power lines! –  Stay away from standing water; energized power lines could be submerged 31
  32. 32. Post storm: Treat alldowned lines as if they areenergized  How to identify power lines versus telephone/cable TV lines –  Report downed power lines, but recognize that telephone and/or cable TV lines may be down too –  Telephone and cable TV lines are usually below the electric transformers –  Electric power lines are always at the top of the utility pole (above transformers)32
  33. 33. Post-storm: Electric safety tips  If your power is out but your electrical system has not been harmed, make sure your circuit breaker is in the “on” position. Leave your air - conditioner and sensitive electrical appliances off until your power is restored.  If water has risen above the electrical outlets, contact a licensed electrician before turning on the main circuit breaker.  Any appliances or electronic equipment that have been submerged will need to dry thoroughly for at least one week and be checked by a qualified repair person prior to being turned on.  If the outside unit of an air-conditioning system has been under water, mud and water may have accumulated in the controls. Have the unit checked by a qualified air-conditioning technician. 33
  34. 34. Post-storm: Portable generator tips  Do NOT connect portable generators directly to a buildings wiring without a licensed electrician first disconnecting the house wiring from CenterPoint Energys service.  NEVER run a portable generator indoors or in a garage - place it in a well ventilated area. Generators can produce carbon monoxide, and the odorless fumes can be deadly. 34
  35. 35. CenterPoint Energy’sGenerator Promotion •  CenterPoint Energy wants customers to be prepared, so through CenterPoint Energy’s new, expanded Natural Gas Standby Generator Program, customers have the power to choose the offer that’s right for them!   To view offers from participating dealers and get the answers you need from our helpful generator FAQs, visit
  36. 36. Post-storm: Electricweatherhead tips  Check your home’s weatherhead.  Any weatherhead problems will need to be repaired by an electrician prior to service being restored.36
  37. 37. Post-storm: Tree debris Under normal operations, CenterPoint Energy trims or removes up to 1 million trees per year to maintain electric service reliability and safety. All resulting debris is hauled away, except for dead tree debris, which is left on site for property owner disposal. However, after a major storm or other natural disaster, any emergency tree trimming debris will not be removed. The priority is clearing power lines, so that electricity can be restored as quickly as possible. 37
  38. 38. Post-storm:Natural gas safety tips  If you smell gas, leave the area immediately and then call us.  Do not turn the lights on or off, smoke, strike a match, use a cell phone or operate anything that might cause a spark.  Do not attempt to turn natural gas on or off.38
  39. 39. Post-storm:Natural gas safety tips  If your home was flooded, call a licensed plumber or a gas appliance technician to inspect your appliances and gas piping to make sure it is in good operating condition before calling CenterPoint Energy to reconnect service  Don’t forget to check outdoor appliances, such as pool heaters and gas grills  Call 811 to locate utility lines prior to digging on your property while conducting clean-up39
  40. 40. Where to find out more:Websites: communication tools:
  41. 41. Questions?41
  42. 42. Scott Scott President, Electric Operations Prochazka Division Senior Vice ProchazkaSenior VP and Division President, CenterPoint Energy Tuesday, July 26, 2011