CenterPoint remembers Ike this weekend

Many Houstonian would rather forget about the days they spent without power following Hurricane Ike last year, but CenterPoint Energy and the City of Houston don’t want you to.
The local power and natural gas distribution company is underwriting a special hurricane preparedness event this Saturday at the George R. Brown Convention Center downtown from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free, open to the public and kid-friendly.
The radio and newspaper ads that CenterPoint ran last hurricane season included the warning that customers should expect power to be out for up to two weeks after a serious storm. But that didn’t matter to many after more than 10 days, so the company is trying to get people to embrace that idea earlier this year.
The company did post-storm surveys that indicated customers remembered hearing the two-week message, but “they didn’t think it would apply to them,” said spokeswoman Leticia Lowe.
The company is trying to apply lessons learned from last year (for example, the color-coded maps of power restoration schedules based on zip code with have better detail this year). But until the company’s multimillion-dollar effort to install remote monitoring and control devices system-wide is complete, getting lights back on post-storm will continue to be a tough, tedious task.
“The bottom line is our customers need to be prepared. They need to have their own plan,” Lowe said.