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Understanding Nested Power Outages: Why You Still Don’t Have Power

  Why don't I have power even though my neighbors do? CenterPoint Energy in Houston Explains what a 'nested outage' is.   Nested power outages can be...
HomeCenterpoint EnergyUnderstanding Nested Power Outages: Why You Still Don't Have Power

Understanding Nested Power Outages: Why You Still Don’t Have Power


Why don’t I have power even though my neighbors do? CenterPoint Energy in Houston Explains what a ‘nested outage’ is.


Nested power outages can be particularly frustrating for those still without electricity after the recent devastating storms in Houston. While power outages are not unusual during extreme weather events, a nested outage can significantly prolong recovery.

A nested outage occurs when an initial outage, caused by a primary problem such as a fallen tree or damaged power line, triggers a secondary outage in a nearby area. This secondary outage results from the initial outage impacting a crucial point in the power distribution network, causing a chain reaction that affects multiple neighborhoods or even entire communities.

Houston Centerpoint energy power outages

That could be why you still don’t have power, even though your neighborhoods do.

CenterPoint Energy has published a map that shows when different areas can expect power to return. Still, some areas – such as parts of Katy, Humble and Magnolia – will have to wait to turn on their lights and air conditioning.

In the case of the recent severe weather in Houston, strong winds and ice accumulation have caused numerous trees to topple over, damaging power lines and infrastructure. As a result, initial outages were experienced in several areas throughout the city. However, in some instances, these initial outages have led to nested outages, leaving entire neighborhoods or sections without power.

Nested outages occur due to the intricate interconnectedness of the power distribution network. Electricity is delivered to homes and businesses through a complex system of substations, transformers, and power lines. When a primary outlet or line is compromised, it disrupts the flow of electricity to other connected areas, triggering additional outages.

Power cables knocked down by the storm

CenterPoint Energy acknowledges frustrations in power restoration efforts

To address Houston’s widespread nested power outages, the local utility company, CenterPoint Energy, has been working tirelessly to restore electricity to affected areas. They have dedicated crews on the ground, working around the clock to assess the damage, repair the infrastructure, and safely restore power.

Centerpoint Energy power restoration plan

CenterPoint Energy has been providing regular updates on its restoration efforts, keeping residents informed about progress. These updates include estimated timelines for restoration, areas that will be prioritized, and any potential roadblocks or challenges they may encounter along the way.

Additionally, CenterPoint Energy has been leveraging technology and data analytics to streamline its response. By analyzing the power grid and its interconnectedness, they can better understand the extent of the nested outages and prioritize their restoration efforts accordingly. This data-driven approach allows them to work efficiently and effectively, maximizing resources to restore power to as many homes and businesses as possible.

Despite their best efforts, restoring power in the case of nested outages can be a complex and time-consuming process. Each nested outage requires careful investigation and repair, and as one area is restored, the focus shifts to the next. It’s a step-by-step approach to restore power safely and reliably.


Briones encouraged residents with property damage to apply for disaster relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as soon as possible. She also noted the cooling and distribution centers across the county remain available to provide refuge to residents in need.

Reliant Energy Payment Assistance

The recent Houston storms and power outages have wreaked havoc on many area families. Reliant Energy offers payment assistance programs if you’re struggling to pay your electric bill.

Getting power back after Houston storm

Can We Expect a Future Without Nested Outages?

Two Utility Companies are Experimenting with Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to Alleviate Power Outages

The path to a future without nested power outages lies in adopting new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI). Two utility firms, in particular, have been at the forefront of using AI to enhance their power distribution systems and minimize the occurrence of nested outages.

One is the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, Tennessee. EPB has implemented a sophisticated AI system that continuously monitors the power grid and detects any anomalies or potential issues. By analyzing vast amounts of data in real time, the AI system can identify weak points in the system and take proactive measures to prevent outages before they occur. This predictive capability helps EPB address potential nested outages early on, reducing downtime for customers and minimizing their frustration.

The other is Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in California. PG&E has developed an AI-powered analytics platform that helps identify areas with a higher risk of nested outages. Using historical outage data, weather patterns, and other relevant factors, PG&E’s system can predict the likelihood of nested outages occurring during extreme weather events or other challenging conditions.



Benton Darrrell
Benton Darrrell
Benton Darrell is an experienced energy consultant specializing in assisting small to mid-sized businesses in optimizing their energy usage and embracing sustainable practices. With a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering and a deep understanding of government programs, Benton provides tailored recommendations to businesses and families seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency. His technical expertise and hands-on experience make him a valuable resource in navigating the complexities of renewable energy adoption. Prior to his consulting work, Benton dedicated his efforts to non-profit organizations, driving initiatives that promoted sustainable energy practices and educated communities about the benefits of renewable resources. This background equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced by businesses in adopting clean energy solutions and leveraging government incentives effectively. Benton's commitment to creating a better future extends beyond his professional pursuits. He feels a strong sense of responsibility to create a sustainable world for future generations in his role as a devoted husband and father of three daughters. By blending his technical knowledge, experience with government programs, and genuine passion for sustainability, Benton guides businesses to make significant energy savings while making a positive impact on the environment, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.