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Houston power restoration a slow go

HOUSTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Crews working to restore electricity to thousands of Houston homes hit by Hurricane Ike are entering an important but time-consuming phase, officials say.

Emergency workers are moving from quickly accomplished, large-scale infrastructure fixes to the tedious work of moving from house to house as impatient residents are forced to endure hot weather without power, The Houston Chronicle reported Saturday.

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Officials for Houston power utility CenterPoint Energy say the house-to-house work, although time-consuming, will be accomplished more swiftly than it was after Hurricane Rita in 2005 because utilities have mobilized an unprecedented number of workers -- many from out of state, the newspaper said.

But the 1 million people still without power in Houston, who have benefited from timely cool weather, will now have to endure a heat wave without air conditioning, weather forecasters said. Highs of around 90 degrees are predicted for Houston starting Saturday and spreading into next week.

"Once it gets hot, people are going to be cussing and fussing," Samantha Jones, the mother of a 5-year-old and an infant, told the Chronicle. "Because they're going to have no lights, and it's going to be hot. They're going to get crazy."

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