Thousands Still Without Power

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More than four days after Rita struck the Texas coast, thousands of residents in our area are still without electricity. Electricity provider, Entergy, says it's working to fix the problem as fast as it can, but even so, some residents are growing restless.

William Branstetter gets emotional when he thinks about what he and his family have been through over the last few days. His entire neighborhood in Trinity County has been without power since Rita hit Saturday.

The family has had to drive for miles everyday to get gas for generators. Branstetter says it has become a matter of life or death for some of his neighbors and his father in law, who uses an oxygen machine.

“People that have epilepsy need oxygen, our older people. We got a lady that's 94. She doesn't even have a generator," said Branstetter.

Branstetter says he's been told that it could take as long as two weeks before his power is restored. Entergy representatives say their electrical system suffered severe damage from Hurricane Rita, and they're working as fast as they can to restore power to all residents.

“The main problems that affected Entergy in our restoration efforts have been the wind damage. The effects of the wind on the trees and on our poles. We had a lot of trees that blew over and knocked down wires, knocked down our poles," said Stan Foley with Entergy.

Entergy implemented rolling outages in Walker, Grimes, and Montgomery counties to avoid a major blackout. Residents were told to expect a loss of service for only an hour, but it has often been longer due to the supply shortages.

"We hope that customers are understanding of it because we felt that it would be better to have someone out of service for a couple of hours than a couple of more days," said Foley.

Branstetter says his patience is wearing thin. But even in this time without electricity he still sees the light.

“It’s frustrating, but God is going to provide, he's been providing," said Branstetter.

Emergency management crews are trying to help residents without power by bringing them food, water, and ice. About 6,000 residents are still without power in Walker, Trinity, and Polk Counties. There are fewer than 25,000 in Montgomery County. Only a handful of residents in the Plantersville area of Grimes County should be affected by the rolling outages.