CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy crews continued to restore power to customers who were affected by the severe ice storm that blitzed the Carolinas two days ago. As of 4 p.m., approximately 137,000 customers remain without power.
"The Carolinas are suddenly enjoying warm, sunny weather, just 48 hours after one of the most devastating ice storms in recent history," said Jeff Corbett, senior vice president of Duke Energy's Carolinas Delivery Operations. "For the nearly 4,400 power line and tree personnel Duke Energy currently has deployed in the field, work will not stop until the lights are back on for all of our customers."
Power line and tree personnel from Duke Energy's Florida and Midwest service areas, as well as seven neighboring utilities, are supplementing the efforts of the company's regional workers.
The ice storm punished North Carolina's Alamance, Davidson, Forsyth, Guilford, Orange, Randolph and Rowan counties, in particular, and Duke Energy restoration efforts are focused in those areas. In the hardest-hit communities, some outages will extend to Wednesday.
Crews are clearing trees, replacing poles, restringing power lines and replacing transformers and other equipment. As crews complete assignments, they are being deployed to other hard-hit areas to assist with power restoration.
"Duke Energy is committed to getting the communities we serve back to normal, and that is reflected in our push to get schools on line again as quickly and safely as possible," Corbett said. "Power has been restored to most schools. We continue to work closely with administrators at those schools still experiencing outages."
For the most up-to-date information on power outages, Duke Energy offers a map online at www.duke-energy.com/storm. The map includes the number of outages across the state and estimated times of restoration.
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
Updates are also provided on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DukeEnergyStorm and www.facebook.com/DukeEnergyStorm.
Avoid any power lines that have fallen or are sagging or buried under debris due to storm damage. 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.
Families who have special medical needs or elderly members should continue to closely monitor individual situations and make plans for potential alternate arrangements if an extended outage is expected.
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. Use this link to watch a video to learn more about damage assessment work: http://www.youtube.com/user/DukeEnergyMediaCtr.
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.
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.
For a visual explanation of power restoration, go to: http://www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/How-Duke-Energy-Restores-Power.pdf (PDF).
If a customer's meter box is pulled away from the house and they are without power, the homeowner is responsible for contacting an electrician for a permanent fix. In some instances, an electrical inspection may be required before the company can reconnect service.
If the meter box is pulled away from the house and you have power, customers should call an electrician to re-attach the meter box.
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: www.duke-energy.com.