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More than 1.6 million homes in Texas still without power after Hurricane Beryl

By Chris Benson
Vehicles trapped in flood waters on Monday following heavy rain from Hurricane Beryl. U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday granted a federal emergency disaster declaration to help speed recovery efforts in 121 Texas counties that were affected by Hurricane Beryl. Photo Provided by Carlos Ramirez/EPA-EFE
1 of 2 | Vehicles trapped in flood waters on Monday following heavy rain from Hurricane Beryl. U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday granted a federal emergency disaster declaration to help speed recovery efforts in 121 Texas counties that were affected by Hurricane Beryl. Photo Provided by Carlos Ramirez/EPA-EFE

July 10 (UPI) -- More than 1.6 million homes in Texas still had no power by Wednesday morning in the middle of sweltering heat in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl as it still could be several more days until power is fully restored in some places.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday granted a federal emergency disaster declaration to help speed recovery efforts in 121 Texas counties that were affected by Hurricane Beryl.

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Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott is away on a diplomatic mission. The declaration will reimburse Texas up to 75% of recovery efforts.

According to the National Weather Service, a heat advisory is currently in effect for all of Southeast Texas where a large part of the state is still with no power. The heat index is expected to feel 106 degrees Fahrenheit.

"With power outages continuing across [Southeast Texas,] the lack of air conditioning will aggravate the risk of heat-related illnesses as high temperatures warm into the lower and mid-90s," NWS in Houston advised.

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CenterPoint Energy, the Houston area's main energy supplier, said Tuesday night that power had already been restored to 850,000 customers which was one-third of the 2.26 million customers who had been impacted in Beryl's path.

"Right behind public safety is restoring city and county services with the highest priority of electricity and energy," Houston Mayor John Whitmire said Tuesday. "We're doing everything we possibly can to see that your electricity is restored."

CenterPoint officials said power would be restored to 1 million customers by Wednesday, according to Houston Chronicle.

The company's website showed 1,357,077 customers affected by outages just before noon Wednesday with 11,653 active outages as 563,743 customers got power in the last 24 hours.

More than 1.2 million of CenterPoint's more than 2.1 million Harris County customers reportedly still had no power by Tuesday afternoon as the company reported the "main elements" of its energy systems was intact following the hurricane.

However, it claimed work crews had already walked 4,500 miles by foot to check circuits using helicopter and drone surveillance in preparation for the large task ahead.

"We have made solid progress and exceeded the number of customer restorations following Hurricane Ike," Lynnae Wilson, CenterPoint's Senior Vice President of Electric Business, told multiple news sources on Tuesday. "But we have a lot of important work ahead, especially in the hardest-hit areas where the work will be more complex and time-consuming."

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Interactive maps provided by CenterPoint, which pointed to delays in reporting, indicated how the effort to restore is on an active "Step 2" phase.

"We know we have a lot of customers counting on us to do our jobs as safely and quickly as possible, and that will continue to be our highest priority," Wilson stated Tuesday.

According to the map, work crews appear to be in the very active stages between assessing Beryl's damage and the scope of work needed with some already in active repairing stages, along with scattered power outages shown in the area.

"Please be prepared for restoration efforts to take several days," the company map advised.

Texans have in recent years gone through a pattern of power outages and other electric grid issues as climate patterns change as both heat and freezing weather take their toll on the Texas power grid.

Extreme heat knocked out power July 2022 during one Houston area news station's weather forecast.

Meanwhile, the state suffered catastrophic power issues when 200 people died after the grid failed in February 2021. Then in May and June that year, the state's system was impacted by widespread solar farm shutdowns.

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Texas citizens have often been asked to conserve and cut back on their own electricity use as punishing heat wave like now across Texas drive record-high power demand.

It arrives as the Biden administration in May unveiled an '"unprecedented" 21-state initiative to modernize the ailing U.S. power grid in a move Texas opted not to take part in.

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