Duke Energy ready to respond to power outages in Carolinas as Irma blows into the region

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  • 4,500 workers positioned to quickly deploy to hardest-hit areas.

  • Restoration could take several days, depending on damage.

  • Company encourages customers to make plans now.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Duke Energy is prepared for potentially widespread power outages in western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina Monday night and into Tuesday. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph from what is now Tropical Storm Irma are expected to blow trees and large branches onto power lines in both states.

Restoration could take several days in certain areas, depending on the severity of damage to Duke Energy's electric distribution system.

"More than 4,500 storm responders, including power line workers, tree professionals, damage assessors and support personnel, are positioned across North Carolina and South Carolina, ready to quickly respond to power outages wherever they occur," said Tim Tripp, Duke Energy's director of storm response for the Carolinas.

"We'll work to safely restore power as quickly as possible – and won't stop until every customer's lights are back on," Tripp said.

How to report power outages, check on restoration progress

Customers can report power outages by:

  • Texting OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
  • Calling the automated outage-reporting system at 800-769-3766 for Duke Energy Carolinas customers and 800-419-6356 for Duke Energy Progress customers.

For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook (Duke Energy).

For more information, visit www.duke-energy.com/irma.

Important safety reminders

  • Have an emergency kit ready for use.
  • Charge cellphones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of the storm to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.
  • Finalize plans to move family members – especially those with medical or other special needs – to a safe, alternative location in case an extended power outage occurs or evacuation is required.
  • Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with lines.
  • Report all power line hazards using the following phone numbers:

            Duke Energy customers – 800.769.3766

            Duke Energy Progress customers – 800.419.6356

  • 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.

For more tips on general emergency preparedness, visit www.ready.gov.

Click here for a video demonstration and to read more about safety around power lines.

Strengthening power delivery in the Carolinas

Duke Energy has invested more than $2.7 billion in the Carolinas to harden and upgrade its power delivery system since 2004. In addition to trimming trees and inspecting / replacing wood poles, the company has invested in grid automation and smart grid technologies, which improve service reliability and reduces the length and number of outages year-round.

The company is also moving forward with billions of dollars of investments in the Carolinas that include such grid hardening efforts as moving underground some overhead services that are routinely affected by dense vegetation and retrofitting hundreds of thousands of transformers with new technology to prevent animal interference and lightning strikes. 

Duke Energy

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the United States. Its Electric Utilities and Infrastructure business unit serves approximately 7.5 million customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. The company's Gas Utilities and Infrastructure business unit distributes natural gas to approximately 1.6 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its Commercial Renewables business unit operates a growing renewable energy portfolio across the United States.

Duke Energy is a Fortune 125 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com

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