CenterPoint Energy credited for hard work in storm aftermath

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One of the many groups that came to the aid of Sealy during its recent microburst storm May 23 was CenterPoint Energy, which mobilized and enlisted additional help and worked diligently to restore power to the area.

The storm took out approximately 250 power poles and left the city dark.

Chris Oliver, CenterPoint Energy’s service area director for Cypress and Katy, said tornadic winds came into Sealy at 7 p.m. that evening and there were about 200 people working from its staging site, the Wal-Mart parking lot.

“We spent the night focusing on our assessment and trying to clear major roadways, I-10, (Texas Highway) 36 and working on that,” he said.

The focus the day after the storm was getting crews in and picking up the lines that were on the ground.

“The first thing we wanted to do is make sure the area is safe,” Oliver said.

Most of the downed power lines were on the southern portion of Sealy, on Highway 36.

If someone is close to a downed line, he said the best thing is to stay away from the hazard and call CenterPoint Energy.

“We need to make sure they are staying safe, that’s priority No. 1,” he said.

Once everyone was safe, Oliver said the focus turned to restoring power.

“We have 30 contract crews and we have site assessments so we are sending people to look at the lines and document the damage,” he said.

The plan, he said, was to “repair the biggest blocks first,” then work down to the smaller lines.

“It will be about a three-day effort to get everything back on,” he said.

Johnny Flores from Asplundh tree removal contracted with CenterPoint Energy led a team and had crews scouting the area for downed trees

“We have six crews here,” he said.

The Sealy Police Department aided the effort with traffic control.

“We’re going to have some of our folks out here directing our crews and traffic and make sure we have a good safe work zone set up,” Oliver said.   

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