Breaking News: CenterPoint Returns Phone Calls!

Categories: Hurricane Ike
Ask – or in our case, pester – and you shall receive.

After several days of unbridled neediness on our part, CenterPoint finally gave Hair Balls a call back to answer some of our questions about outside electricity repair crews being sent home last week when nearly half a million customers were still without power. (That number is currently about 80,000.)

CenterPoint’s Leticia Lowe echoed earlier statements that the crews in question were not trained to climb the backyard power poles that keep many of Houston’s residential streets uncluttered and many of the city’s households running Amish-style after a natural disaster.

Lowe, who said there had been "a communication breakdown" that caused CenterPoint to not return our calls, tells Hair Balls that there was no financial motivation for sending extra crews home – it was simply a matter of a lack of work available for the non-climbing crews.

“The fact that we did send restoration crews away didn’t slow down the process,” she says.

And, predictably, the exact number of crews sent home – or even a rough estimate – was unavailable. Equally predictable was Lowe’s assertion that the restoration went about as smoothly as possible, given the circumstances. If CenterPoint did slow the restoration down by not arranging to bring in more outside crews equipped to work on the city’s residential infrastructure, you’re not going to hear it from them. Such is the job of the public information officer.

Of course, addressing media inquiries in a timely manner is also part of that job. To that we say – with only a touch of bitchy sarcasm – mission accomplished.

Blake Whitaker

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