A majority of homes and businesses in the Gulf Coast city of Galveston are still without electricity Tuesday morning. Galveston City Manager Brian Maxwell told Texas Standard the city estimates that 90% to 95% of homes haven’t had power for well over 36 hours. Maxwell says CenterPoint Energy – one of the main electricity providers on the island – was told by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to drop its capacity to 25%. But he says that doesn’t explain why that led to almost the entire island without power.
“The original answer from CenterPoint was ‘ERCOT told us who to turn off and on.’ And we reached out to ERCOT immediately and ERCOT said, ‘No that’s not true. We told CenterPoint they had to reduce capacity by 25%. Who they reduce and how they do it is entirely up to them,’” Maxwell said.
He expressed frustration over why, instead of rolling blackouts, power was cut off and hasn’t come back on.
“Most of the older homes in Galveston have frozen pipes,” Maxwell said. “It’s going to be pretty catastrophic here once things start to thaw out this afternoon.”
Maxwell is concerned when pipes start to thaw, too much water will flow into homes at once, which could cause damages. He’s also worried that it could quickly deplete the city’s water supply.
The outages are also taking a human toll, he says.
“I was up all night; we were watching a lot of carbon monoxide calls coming in,” Maxwell said. “I’m sure people were trying to bring in outside propane heaters into their house trying to stay warm, and I’m sure that’s happening all over the state.”