Power outages in Texas: What to know before, during and after your power goes out (2024)

Marley Malenfant , Austin American-Statesman

·4 min read

More than 2 million people, most of them CenterPoint customers, are without power in the greater Houston area. The company predicts that power will be restored by Wednesday.

Here’s what residents should know about power outages:

Power outages on the rise

According to Climate Central, weather-related power outages are on the rise. Here are some key facts:

  • The states with the most reported weather-related power outages were Texas, Michigan, California, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

  • Between 2000 and 2021, about 83% of reported major outages in the U.S. were attributed to weather-related events.

  • From 2000-2021, there were 1,542 weather-related power outages. Most outages were caused by winter weather (22%), tropical cyclones (15%), and other severe weather (58%).

Texas power outage map: Millions without power near Houston

Open Whataburger locations on app serves as alternate power outage map

The Whataburger app works as a power outage tracker, handy since the electric company doesn't show a map.
Still nearly 1.9 million power outages. pic.twitter.com/d8srWmw1oV

— BBQ Bryan (@BBQBryan) July 9, 2024

How to prepare for power outages

Here are some precautions people can take in case of a power outage.

  • Create an inventory of electricity-dependent items in your home.

  • Plan for alternative power sources like batteries and portable chargers during power outages.

  • Ensure every household member has a flashlight.

  • Check if your home phone functions during power outages and how long its battery backup lasts.

  • Use a generator, but only outdoors and away from windows.

  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.

  • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.

  • Water — one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)

  • Food — non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)

  • Have some cash on hand

  • Family and emergency contact information

  • First-aid kit

  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items

  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)

More: Millions still without power as temps rise in Houston. Here's how to stay cool

What do I need to know about generator safety?

Generators can be extremely helpful and crucial during a power outage. Here's what ready.gov says to keep in mind before operating one:

  • Generators and fuel should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and attached garages.

  • Install working carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill you, your family and pets.

  • Keep the generator dry and protected from rain or flooding. Touching a wet generator or devices connected to one can cause electrical shock.

  • Always connect the generator to appliances with heavy-duty extension cords.

  • Let the generator cool before refueling. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts can ignite.

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

How do I survive a long term power outage?

Here is a list of things to consider during a prolonged power outage, according to ready.gov:

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.

  • Use a generator, but only outside and away from windows.

  • Don’t use your gas stove or oven to heat your home. (This tip isn’t necessary for those who live Florida’s summer heat)

  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.

  • Try to find alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.

  • Check with local officials about heating or cooling locations open near you.

More: When is the next hurricane in Texas? See the 7-day Atlantic forecast

What do I do with food, medicine after a power outage?

T​​hrow away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise. Consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately for a new supply.

What to do if you see a downed power line

The aftermath of Hurricane Beryl will leave lots of debris and damage in neighborhoods and businesses. If you’re near a down powerline, it’s encouraged to avoid the following:

  • Always treat a powerline as if it’s energized. Do not get near one.

  • Stay clear of debris, large areas or puddles of water and damaged electrical equipment.

  • Never touch a power line with your bare hands or with any conductive object. Never touch anything that is touching a power line, such as a ladder, pole, or tree.

  • If you see or are near a downed powerline, leave the area and call 911.

— USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida reporter Samantha Neely contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Texas power outages: What to know before, after a power outage

Power outages in Texas: What to know before, during and after your power goes out (2024)
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