Dan Patrick vows to hold CenterPoint accountable for Beryl’s preparations

KHOU 11 Investigates reported Monday that unlike some previous hurricanes, CenterPoint did not send mutual aid workers to Houston before Beryl made landfall.

HOUSTON — Texas Acting Gov. Dan Patrick on Tuesday vowed to hold CenterPoint accountable for how it prepared for Hurricane Beryl.

“Right now Jeremy (Rogalski), if they made mistakes, we don’t know if they made mistakes or not, if they made mistakes beforehand, that will be addressed by the PUC (Public Utility Commission of Texas), that’s their job, and by the state legislature,” Patrick said at a news conference at the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management.

KHOU 11 Investigates reported Monday that unlike some previous hurricanes, CenterPoint did not send mutual aid workers to Houston before Beryl made landfall.

RELATED: Here’s why CenterPoint outage tracker isn’t working and when it might be fixed

“I want to make that point in particular,” said CenterPoint communications director Alyssia Oshodi. “While we didn’t have the teams we requested in Houston, we did have them in nearby locations,” she said.

Asked for more details about those locations, Oshodi said he would look into it and provide an update. In a later email, he wrote that “crews were positioned in locations where they would be safe when the storm hit.”

Watch the extended interview with CenterPoint Communications Director Alyssia Oshodi:

CenterPoint also confirmed to KHOU 11 Investigates that before Beryl hit, the power provider requested only 2,500 outside workers to respond to the affected areas. After the hurricane hit, the company requested many more workers on the ground — about 12,000 outside repair workers in total.

RELATED: Houston Area Power Outage Tracker

“I think what happened is that we relied on the information that we had at the time,” Oshodi said. “And so we prepared appropriately for what it felt like and what we thought the event would be like. It was something different, with a bigger impact, so we quickly increased the resources that we needed to respond.”

It was not clear how many of those resources had actually arrived by Tuesday afternoon. In separate press conferences and in writing, the company gave three conflicting figures: 5,300 mutual aid workers, 7,500 and the 12,000 it had requested.

At its peak, 2.7 million CenterPoint customers were without power due to Hurricane Beryl. Acting Governor Patrick said that even though the hurricane’s path had shifted northward, the threat to the densely populated Houston metropolitan area was clear.

“I’ll just say this: Any idea that people were surprised that this storm came to Houston is shocking to me,” Patrick said.

RELATED: When will power be restored in Houston? CenterPoint says hardest hit areas could see extended outages

The acting governor said state leaders will conduct a post-event analysis, including what additional repair crews CenterPoint requested and when they were asked to come.

“But today, Jeremy, I’m not looking at what they didn’t do or should have done on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, but what they’re going to do now and how quickly they’re going to get their teams out there,” Patrick said. “Because we’re in the business of saving lives now.”

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