Houston Mayor John Whitmire vows he’s holding CenterPoint accountable after 2.2M Beryl outages

Power outages are impacting local hospitals as well and NRG Stadium will be used as a 250-bed relief center to help with the overload

July 8, 2024: Houston Mayor John Whitmire and emergency management officials walked through damage and recovery efforts after Hurricane Beryl. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Key takeaways

  • Houston mayor vowed adamantly to hold CenterPoint accountable for power outage restoration
  • 25 additional ambulances will be sent to Houston along with strike teams to support first responders
  • NRG Stadium will be used as a 250-bed facility to relieve overload at local hospitals
  • More than 16-thousand calls to 911 during and after Hurricane Beryl
  • 56 high-water rescued Monday by HPD and first responders

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HOUSTON – Houston Mayor John Whitmire vowed he is holding CenterPoint accountable to get power restored after 2.2M customers in the city and surrounding areas lost power when Hurricane Beryl hit Monday.

SEE ALSO: When will power be restored in your area? CenterPoint Energy’s restoration map aims to provide clearer outlook

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to see that your electricity is restored. It affects everything we’re talking about today,” Whitmire said in a briefing with other emergency management leaders.

The impact of power outages is now affecting local hospitals that can’t discharge patients because they can’t send them to a home without power, especially in the heat. That’s caused an overload for hospitals because it means they can’t clear their beds to admit new patients.

To help, 25 ambulances are being sent to Houston to help and Acting Governor Dan Patrick said NRG Stadium will be set up with 250 beds to help with the patient overload.

“So that we can move these people from the hospital so that there are rooms open for the new patients that come in,” Patrick said.

“Life safety remains our primary concern,” said Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena, adding call volume for emergencies was up 50 percent.

“What we’re seeing is issues with broken gas lines, downed power lines, medical issues and we’re starting to see the increase in carbon monoxide poisoning-type calls. We’ve seen about a hundred in the last couple of days. With the heat and humidity rising, we’re also seeing an increase in heat emergencies,” Pena said.

Additional strike teams are being brought in to help Houston’s first responders and Pena said they’ll stay here as long as needed.

16-thousand calls came into 911 Monday, according to Patrick, who urged people not to call 911 for power outages. Here’s the number he urged people to call about power outages: 713-207-2222.

Acting Police Chief Larry Satterwhite said HPD and first responders had 56 high-water rescues Monday and the department went to full mobilization Tuesday morning.

“Our officers did a fantastic job,” Satterwhite said. “Of course what we did not anticipate was the level of power that we would lose, the magnitude of the power outages. . .Once we had the power outages we realized this was going to be a much more extended event. We went to mobilization,” which means all hands on deck and more officers on the street. Monday they worked 16-hour shifts. Now they’re working 12-hour shifts with no days off until things ease up.

Local and state leaders have reached out to President Biden and asked for an emergency declaration. Acting Governor Dan Patrick said he’s confident that will happen.

Chief Nim Kidd with the Texas Division of Emergency Management urged Houstonians to file damage reports with the state, just as he did after May’s derecho damage. The state has to show $54 million in uninsured damage to meet the federal threshold for disaster assistance.

“I’ve never seen such a joint effort of public servants serving the public,” Whitmire said.

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Houston bred and super excited to be back home! I grew up in The Heights with my 8 brothers and sisters and moved back in 2024. My career as a journalist spans a lot of years -- I like to say there's a lot of tread on these tires! I'm passionate about helping people. I also really love sharing success stories and stories of redemption. Email me!

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