CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The first major storm of the winter drifted into the Carolinas under the cover of darkness early today with the potential of robbing the area of roadway passability, business productivity and vital electricity.
While outages are occurring throughout the company's Carolinas service territory, meteorologists believe the worst is yet to come.
Duke Energy is closely monitoring the situation as a combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain continues to fall across the Carolinas and many parts of the Southeast.
In addition to the company's more than 3,200 line and tree workers and contractors, about 3,600 personnel from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Indiana, Oklahoma, Michigan and Texas began arriving yesterday in Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville and in the Greenville-Spartanburg area.
Crews will continue to arrive in the Carolinas over the next few days and will be deployed as outages occur.
While the full impact of the winter storm may not be known for some time, Duke Energy wants customers to be prepared for the potential of an extended outage. The company urges customers to:
- Check supplies of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc.
- Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is on hand.
- Avoid heating homes with a gas grill or bringing a generator inside. Such equipment should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.
- Check on family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs or who are elderly, to ensure they have necessary emergency supplies.
- Determine now what action they would take in the event of an extended power outage.
Duke Energy customers in the Carolinas whose accounts have medical indicators to advise them of the pending severe weather have been notified to consider making alternative arrangements in the event of an extended power outage.
Customers who experience an outage during the storm should call the automated outage-reporting system at 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766) or text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).
Customers can also report an outage or view current outages online at www.duke-energy.com/winterstorms.
Duke Energy also will provide updates on its social media channels to keep customers informed if significant outages occur.
- Duke Energy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DukeEnergy
- Duke Energy on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DukeEnergy
Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all power lines energized, as well as trees or limbs in contact with power lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy. If a power line falls across a car 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 no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
Restoring power after a storm can be challenging, as travel conditions are poor. Before power can be restored, crews first assess damage and determine which 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 are restored as quickly as possible. Essential services, such as hospitals and emergency response facilities, are the first priority.
If you lose power, please turn off as many appliances and electronics as possible. This helps with restoration efforts because it reduces the immediate demand on power lines when power is restored.
Once your power is restored, please wait a few minutes before turning your equipment back on.
About Duke Energy
Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.3 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 23 million people. It's Commercial Portfolio and International business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.
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 duke-energy.com. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.