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Improving Houston’s Power Source

Houston Mayor Bill White has his eye on the local power grid. He’s named a special task force to recommend how the city can improve electrical supply and reliability — especially in times of disaster.

Laurie Johnson reports.

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Electrical reliability essentially refers to making sure the power lines, operations and maintenance of the grid can be relied upon.

It was pretty clear after Hurricane Ike that electrical reliability in Houston is a problem.

“Over 90 percent of the power was out in the CenterPoint system after Hurricane Ike. Many people were without power for weeks. There was a massive recovery effort to get the grid back up, but boy it’s going to cost a lot of money — hundreds of millions of dollars. So it’s time that Houston started on the important work of making sure our power grid is more durable, more resilient.”

Mayor Bill White put together a task force of nine men involved in the local energy sector, including the president of CenterPoint Energy.

White says he expects to receive recommendations from them by early April. And he says this isn’t just a study that will sit on a shelf gathering dust.

“We want to take what the task force comes up with and hopefully with CenterPoint, but it may be separate from CenterPoint, and go to the Public Utility Commission and put this in a plan that CenterPoint will follow. So this isn’t an idle exercise.”

The task force will examine issues like burying power lines, installing more durable poles and implementing back-up power generation systems.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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