Bryan Quintanilla’s Bellaire residence is illuminated green on CenterPoint Energy’s new power outage map, indicating he has electricity. But the 22-year-old said Wednesday that he’s still in the dark, forced to make routine trips to his car to cool off and charge his phone in the 90-degree heat.

“They’re just saying one thing in the media, and we see another,” Quintanilla said of CenterPoint, the Houston area’s largest electricity provider. “This is frustrating.”

Houston-area residents recovering from Hurricane Beryl widely reported Wednesday that CenterPoint’s power outage map has incorrect information about which neighborhoods have electricity, adding to frustration with the utility company.

In social media posts and interviews with the Houston Landing, residents said the map showed their homes were back online, when in fact they still were without electricity. 

CenterPoint, which services nearly all of Harris and Fort Bend counties, launched the tool Tuesday night to provide neighborhood-level detail about which areas had power. As of Wednesday morning, about 1.3 million of the 2.2 million customers who lost power in the storm still were without electricity, according to CenterPoint.

The company said the tool would deliver clarity to customers annoyed by CenterPoint’s lack of outage map, which has been offline due to “technical issues” since a May storm blew through Greater Houston. But for some customers, the map has added to their sense that CenterPoint is disorganized and failing to communicate with customers.

It is not immediately clear how many CenterPoint-serviced neighborhoods are inaccurately listed on the map. A CenterPoint spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

@houstonlanding After leaving millions of Houstonians in the dark, literally and figuratively, #CenterPoint finally released its own outage map. The problem? Many are reporting that the information on the map is inaccurate and unhelpful. Customers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the company and have turned to alternate methods to find accurate information (thanks, @Whataburger) We are continuing to cover CenterPoint in the aftermath of #HurricaneBeryl. Follow live updates at #hurricaneberyl #stormberyl #houston #houstontx #houstontexas ♬ Storytelling – Adriel

In previous public statements this week, CenterPoint officials have repeatedly assured customers that they know the areas that lack power.

“Our internal processes tell us where, who’s on, who’s off, and we have that information,” CenterPoint Communications Manager Michelle Hundley said.

Yet hoards of social media commenters said CenterPoint’s new map, along with text messages delivered through the company’s customer alert system, aren’t providing correct information.

Sugar Land resident Casey Trejos has had power since early Tuesday morning, but CenterPoint’s map says restoration for her neighborhood is still in progress. To her, that’s evidence that the tracker is “just inaccurate all over the place” and not a reliable source of information. 

“When CenterPoint is kind of just throwing stuff out there, how are you supposed to trust them?” Trejos said. “If you can’t provide a (time) estimate, don’t release anything. A lot of people have kids and pets and are debating whether or not they should leave the city, if they have the ability. But when all the information is so all over the place, no one can make decisions.”

Natalie Wells has received several messages from CenterPoint that claim power at her Third Ward home has been restored, as she and her neighbors still remain without electricity. With a new baby and two small dogs, Wells is becoming more anxious as the heat climbs.

“We spent the night with neighbors last night but are running out of options,” Wells said. “I’m not sure how much longer we can take the heat without risking their health.”

CenterPoint officials unexpectedly published the map Tuesday after originally saying a new map would arrive later in July. The release came as residents searching for outage information frantically downloaded Whataburger’s app, which showed which of the fast food chain’s stores were open across Houston.

As of early Wednesday afternoon, the map did not show when residents’ power will be restored. Company leaders said the feature will be added after workers finish damage assessments by the end of Wednesday.

The Houston region’s two other largest electricity infrastructure providers, Entergy and Texas-New Mexico Power, have provided power outage maps throughout the storm. The companies largely serve Greater Houston’s suburban counties.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print.