caption="Florida Light and Power Co. linemen work to restore power in the Houston area."]
Ed Lavandera | BIO
CNN Correspondent in Houston, Texas
Susan Wood feels like she’s the victim of a cruel practical joke.
Her next door neighbor’s power, in the Houston suburb of Bellaire, has been restored. All her neighbors across the street have power. Even the family that lives behind her has power. But Susan Wood sits in the dark waiting for the lights, and air conditioning, to turn on.
“It’s crazy. It doesn’t have any rhyme or reason to it,” said Wood. “So now we’re irritated.”
About 500,000 people across the Houston region are still without electrical power nearly two weeks after Hurricane Ike struck the southeast Texas coast.
The electric company with the most customers still without power, CenterPoint Energy, says it has done good work in a short time by restoring electricity to 75% of its customers within two weeks. The company says it hopes to have almost all power restored by this Sunday.
“There are certainly tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousand of trees, which have fallen as a result of this storm and these outages are caused in large amount by these trees falling into the infrastructure,” said Tom Standish, president of regional operations for CenterPoint Energy.
But what’s frustrating many Houston area residents is the lack of information. Susan Wood says she was told power would be restored this past Monday. That deadline has come and gone.
“I think the biggest frustration is we don’t know why we don’t have power and its only five or six houses on our block,” said Susan Wood.
The lack of power is also creating traffic nightmares across the city. Traffic lights are out in many intersections turning daily commutes into exhausting adventures on the roadways.
And in many neighborhoods residents have resorted to begging for help. Posting signs reading “Help Us” and “Please Turn On Our Power.”
The lack of power has sparked creative solutions. On Wood’s street neighbors with power have strung extension cords across the street to help their friends in the dark.
Susan Wood is using the cord to turn on one fan. Her family is staying in Dallas with family until the power comes back on and at night she sleeps at a friend’s house with air conditioning.
On this day, Susan Wood and several frustrated neighbors just sit around the fan waiting for the power to come back. As the temperatures rise and the beads of sweat roll down their faces, the anger builds.
“Incredibly frustrating,” said Andrea Rigamonti. “I am just sitting around sweating waiting for the power to come on and it’s been like 13 days now and nothing.”
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