Whataburger's App Helps Texans Track Hurricane Power Outages

Whataburger's App Helps Texans Track Hurricane Power Outages

Luisa Hernandez
1 min read

Unconventional Power Tracking: How Whataburger's App Became a Lifeline During Hurricane Beryl

In Texas, residents turned to Whataburger's app to track power outages caused by the devastating Hurricane Beryl, as Houston's main energy provider, CenterPoint Energy, struggled to provide updates. With 2.26 million customers initially losing power, the app became a critical tool for locals in gauging power availability, despite its original function for locating restaurants and ordering food. As Hurricane Beryl wreaked havoc across the Caribbean and Texas, the app's unintended use highlights the resilience of communities in times of crisis.

Key Takeaways

  • Whataburger's app unexpectedly used as a power outage tracker in Texas due to CenterPoint Energy's lack of updates.
  • Over 1.3 million customers remained without power as of July 10, 2024, following Hurricane Beryl.
  • CenterPoint Energy's technical issues delayed the release of a power restoration map until July 10, exacerbating the reliance on the Whataburger app.
  • Whataburger CEO advises users to verify restaurant openings by phone, recognizing the app's limited power availability information.
  • Hurricane Beryl, a Category 5 storm, resulted in at least 11 deaths and widespread devastation.


The reliance on Whataburger's app for power outage tracking underscores the communication gaps brought about by CenterPoint Energy's technical issues during Hurricane Beryl. This unexpected use has influenced Whataburger's operations and customer interactions, leading to a surge in app usage and resource constraints in the short term. Looking ahead, increased investment in utility tech and disaster response apps is anticipated. Additionally, CenterPoint Energy may face reputational damage and regulatory scrutiny, potentially driving improvements in outage management systems, affecting financial instruments linked to utility stocks.

Did You Know?

  • Whataburger App as a Power Outage Tracker:
    • Insight: Texas residents repurposed the Whataburger app to monitor power outages during Hurricane Beryl due to delayed updates from CenterPoint Energy. The app's usage as a makeshift power availability indicator showcases the community's resourcefulness amid official communication lapses.
  • Waffle House Index:
    • Insight: The "Waffle House Index," used by FEMA to assess disaster severity based on Waffle House restaurant operations, exemplifies unconventional measures for disaster management and recovery evaluation.
  • CenterPoint Energy's Technical Issues:
    • Insight: CenterPoint Energy's challenges in providing timely updates on power restoration during Hurricane Beryl underscore the critical need for robust technical infrastructure in utility companies for efficient communication during emergencies.

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