Texans use Whataburger app to track power outages caused by Hurricane Beryl

More than 1.7 million in the Houston area remain without power as of press time.

click to enlarge The gray Whataburger logos indicate which locations are closed due to a power outage, while the orange logos show locations that are open. - Screenshot / Whataburger App
Screenshot / Whataburger App
The gray Whataburger logos indicate which locations are closed due to a power outage, while the orange logos show locations that are open.
Texas fast-food staple Whataburger is serving more than burgers in the wake of Hurricane Beryl.

Instead of ordering food, folks are using the San Antonio-based burger chain's app to track power outages in the Houston area.

On Monday, Hurricane Beryl slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast as a strong Category 1 storm, flooding Houston-area highways and knocking out power to nearly 3 million residents, according to the Associated Press.

Although the website of Houston-based utility CenterPoint Energy includes data on the number of customers without power — 1.7 million as of press time — the site doesn't provide a map showing which service areas are affected by the outage.

That's where the Whataburger app comes in. Using the app, users can tell which parts of Houston have power and which neighborhoods are in the dark by checking out what Whataburger locations are open for business. Assuming they have power, the chain's restaurants run 24 hours.

The clever hack was discovered by X user @BBQBryan, who shared it Monday evening with other users of the social media platform.

"The Whataburger app works as a power outage tracker, which is handy since the electric company doesn't show a map," @BBQBryan tweeted.
His post has racked up 16,000 likes and nearly 4 million views as of noon Tuesday.

Whataburger was so impressed with @BBQBryan that company officials asked for his mailing address so they could send him a gift for "using the app so creatively."

Meanwhile, CenterPoint Energy said in a late Monday press release that it hopes to restore power to 1 million customers by Wednesday.

"While we tracked the projected path, intensity, and timing for Hurricane Beryl closely for many days, this storm proved the unpredictability of hurricanes as it delivered a powerful blow across our service territory and impacted a lot of lives," CenterPoint Senior Vice President Lynnae Wilson said in a statement. "We know we have important work ahead for our customers who depend on us, especially during the hot summer months."

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Michael Karlis

Michael Karlis is a Staff Writer at the San Antonio Current. He is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., whose work has been featured in Salon, Alternet, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, Orlando Weekly, NewsBreak, 420 Magazine and Mexico Travel Today. He reports primarily on breaking news, politics...

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