CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As of 6 p.m. Duke Energy has about 130,000 outages as a winter storm rolls through the Carolinas. But the storm is still active in the company's territory.
Current outages are mainly in the Duke Energy Progress service area, near Wilmington, N.C., Florence, S.C. and Hartsville, S.C.
"We are in the midst of a severe winter storm and recognize our outages numbers will continue to rise. Some of these will be multiday events," said Jeff Corbett, senior vice president of Duke Energy's Carolinas Delivery Operations. "Much of our service territory still has the possibility of more snow, sleet and freezing rain."
The company has already restored power to many customers during the early stages of the storm. Duke Energy has a total of 3,400 restoration personnel in place for the storm with about 500 from the company's Midwest and Florida operations. Another 500 personnel are expected Thursday.
They will bolster the company's regular complement of line technicians, service crews and other personnel. The company has plans to move crews in unaffected regions to areas of greatest need in both Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress, which serve a wide geographic area in North Carolina and South Carolina.
"If you have to be on the road, please give our crews and other first responders plenty of room. We want them to be safe while they work," added Corbett.
Duke Energy urges customers to be prepared:
- Check your supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc.
- Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is on hand.
- Do not attempt to heat your home with a gas grill or by bringing a generator inside. Only operate such equipment outdoors in well-ventilated areas. Follow manufacturer instructions.
- Check on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs or who are elderly to ensure they have necessary emergency supplies. Encourage them to determine now what action they would take in the event of an extended power outage.
Customers who experience an outage should call Duke Energy's automated outage-reporting systems for their respective utility:
- Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766)
- Duke Energy Progress: 1-800-419-6356
- Spanish-speaking customers can call: 1-866-4APAGON
Customers may also report an outage or view current outages online at www.duke-energy.com/storms
Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines. If a power line falls across a car that you're in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
Restoring power after an ice storm can be challenging as travel conditions are poor. Before power can be restored, crews first assess damage and determine what crews, equipment and supplies will be needed to make repairs. Because of this, customers may see damage assessors patrolling their neighborhoods before crews arrive to begin work.
Crews prioritize work to ensure the largest number of customers is restored as quickly as possible. Essential services such as hospitals and emergency responders have priority.
"Our crews will work as quickly and safely as possible to complete restorations," said Corbett. "Depending on the number of outages and the amount of damage sustained, we know from past storms some customers may experience multi-day outages."
"I cannot stress enough the importance of being prepared and having a plan in place now in the event your power goes off," he added. "We appreciate our customers and their advanced preparedness and patience as we brace for this unprecedented event."
If you lose power, please turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible. This will help with restoration efforts as it will reduce the immediate demand on the power lines when power is restored.
Once your power is restored, wait a few minutes before turning your equipment back on.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: http://www.duke-energy.com/.