Houston Power Outages Still Top 1.3 Million With Slow Recovery

A Kroger grocery store without power in Houston, Texas on July 9. (Mark Felix/Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- The lights are slowly turning back on Houston — though the key word there is slowly. 

Roughly 1.7 million homes and businesses were still without power in Texas on Wednesday morning, according to The majority of the problems are concentrated in Houston, with the area’s main utility, CenterPoint Energy Inc., accounting for almost 1.4 million of those outages. 

Houston is still strangled by the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Beryl, which struck the country’s fourth-largest city on Monday as a Category 1 hurricane. 

The outages, which at their peak cut power to more than 2.5 million customers across the region, have disrupted service at cell phone towers and snarled traffic lights and a major data center, while leaving residents to swelter through a heat wave without air conditioning. 

The Houston area remains under a heat advisory for Wednesday. The region’s heat index values — a measure of how hot it feels when humidity is factored in — are forecast to be as high as 106F (41C), the US National Weather Service said. 

“The lack of air conditioning will aggravate the risk for heat-related illnesses,” the weather service said. 

AccuWeather Inc. estimated Beryl’s cost in the US, counting both damages and economic losses, could reach $28 billion to $32 billion. The Associated Press reported at least seven US deaths from the storm. 

Workers have walked about 4,500 miles (7,242 kilometers) on foot to inspect electric circuits as part of restoration efforts, CenterPoint said in post on X. As of 8 p.m. local time on July 9, the utility had restored electricity to more than 850,000 customers, the company said in a statement. The company has said it plans to restore service to 1 million customers by the end of the day on Wednesday. 

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