February 15, 2021

Residents Urged to Shelter in Place

As those without power are painfully aware (myself and my family included), the situation has only gotten worse today.  What we were originally told would be rolling blackouts lasting maybe 30 to 45 minutes, are now prolonged outages that could continue through the night.  CenterPoint had earlier expressed some optimism that many customers would see their power restored sometime today, but that’s now looking increasingly unlikely, especially as a further drop in temperatures will only drive electricity demand even higher.

We’re obviously not alone here in Bellaire; millions of homes across the Greater Houston area (and indeed across the state) are without power.  These extremely cold temperatures for our region have at once caused both record demand, and severely limited supply as generating units have shut down.  Some one-third of Texas’ electrical capacity has reportedly been knocked offline, whether from natural gas supply disruptions or frozen wind turbines.

As the situation has worsened, it seems CenterPoint has been forced to give up on its intended rolling blackouts, which is why so many of us have been without power all day and might not get it back tonight.  There just isn’t enough available capacity statewide.  It’s not that they’re not trying, but we shouldn’t get our hopes up.

That being the case, emergency management officials are recommending people shelter in place and conserve as much heat as possible.  You are at far greater risk attempting to travel elsewhere, especially as the snow and ice that melted somewhat in today’s sunshine is only going to refreeze as temperatures drop again.  Plus, anywhere you might try to go could also lose power as well.  Instead, you are strongly urged to stay home, and to help your neighbors if you can.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like those of us without power are in for a rough night with no heat against the near-record cold.  Bundle up and do what you can to stay warm, and know you’re not alone.  Above all else be safe.  For non-emergency assistance contact the Bellaire EOC at (713) 668-0487, or for life-threatening emergencies call 911.