Restoration army grows to nearly 9,000, with more on the way
Some outage repairs can't be made until flood water recedes
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Duke Energy has restored more than a million (924,000 in North Carolina and 180,000 in South Carolina) of the 1.36 million customers who lost power due to Hurricane Matthew.
The company has quadrupled its resources since storm preparations began (2,300 last week to nearly 9,000 this week). More than 1,500 additional resources are en route today.
Utility companies sending resources include Duke Energy Midwest and Florida, First Energy, CenterPoint Energy and Delaware Electric Coop.
States providing additional personnel include Delaware, New York, Nebraska, Maine, Indiana, Florida, Oklahoma, Iowa, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Canada has also sent personnel.
There were still 235,000 customers (158,000 in North Carolina and 77,000 in South Carolina) without power this morning.
The hardest hit counties include: Robeson, Bladen, Columbus, Pender, Duplin, Wayne, Johnston, Sampson, Harnett, Cumberland, Lenoir, Pitt, Greene, Craven and Beaufort.
In some of these areas, flood waters remain or continue to rise. It could be days before crews are able to access these areas to make repairs. Additionally, customers whose homes or meter boxes have sustained substantial damage will need to make repairs before we are able to restore service.
"At Duke Energy, our sole focus is to safely restore power for our customers as quickly as we can," said Lynn Good, Duke Energy chairman, president and CEO, who surveyed Hurricane Mathew's devastation first-hand in southern Wake County Monday.
"This is a very challenging time for all of us, and we appreciate the patience and understanding our customers have shown," she added. "This was an historic storm requiring a massive restoration effort."
Good also spent time at the company's Customer Care and Storm Response centers in Raleigh, speaking with employees and listening to their interaction with customers.
"People want us to know what they're going through, and we do," Good said. "That's why we've dedicated all available personnel to deal with this catastrophe, and contacted other agencies throughout much of the country and Canada to assist."
Duke Energy focuses on restoring power in a sequence that enables power restoration to public health and safety facilities and to the greatest number of customers as safely and quickly as possible, starting first with the larger transmission lines.
Matthew caused significant damage to Duke's transmission system:
- Nearly 60 transmission lines were knocked out of commission (32 restored)
- More than 115 substations were inoperable due to damage or flood waters (98 restored; many of the remaining ones are submerged)
Hurricane Matthew is the fifth worst storm to hit the combined Duke Energy / Duke Energy Progress service area. Some liken the storm's effects to Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and Hugo in 1989.
"We may continue to lose equipment due to rising flood waters, which could cause additional outages," said Bobby Simpson, who is overseeing Duke Energy's restoration efforts. "The good weather certainly helps our restoration effort, but rising flood waters continue to place additional challenges on us is some areas."
Duke Energy has posted estimated times of restoration on its website. Customers should understand those restoration times reflect the latest time a customer's power could be restored. However, as crews assess specific areas, these times may be improved.
Once crews restore power to a trouble spot, our systems indicate all power provided by that device is on. We are using calls and text messages to gather information to determine remaining outages down the line. If you receive a call or text, it means we are actively working in your area. Please respond if you are still without power. This will assist us in restoring your power as quickly as possible.
Duke Energy's customer service centers have supplemented their ranks to assist customers who call to report outages and emergencies.
Customers can report outages and electrical emergencies, such as downed lines and poles, by calling Duke Energy's automated outage-reporting system for their specific service area:
- Duke Energy Carolinas – 800.769.3766
- Duke Energy Progress – 800.419.6356
Customers can text OUT to 57801 to report an outage from their mobile phone. Be sure to use the mobile phone associated with the customer's account.
Ash and cooling pond dams at our Carolinas' facilities continue to operate safely. Flooding continues to subside near the retired Weatherspoon Plant in Lumberton, N.C. The Neuse River near the H.F. Lee Plant in Goldsboro, N.C., continues to rise and is flowing into the plant's cooling pond. The Weatherspoon Plant ash basin and active ash basin at H.F. Lee Plant are not affected. The company is monitoring conditions, and state regulators continue to support operations at both plants.
Duke Energy urges everyone to be safe during this challenging time. Please follow these important tips:
- Our employees are trained to be vigilant and constantly aware of their surroundings.
- If, at any time, our crews believe they are in an unsafe situation, they will postpone the work until the area is safe and secure.
- We will continue to monitor this evolving situation with our focus on the safety of our customers and employees.
- Anyone encountering electrical equipment after a storm, whether it is a downed power line, a substation or a solar site, take extreme caution and assume that the equipment is energized -- especially do not go near electrical equipment when it is immersed in standing water. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy or your local power provider.
- 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.
- Power lines can be hidden by debris and standing water so please be extremely careful moving around in damaged areas.
- "Move Over and Slow Down" Law: The "move over" law requires drivers to move over one lane when two or more lanes are available in each direction to make way for emergency responders, tow trucks, DOT incident management assistance patrols and roadside work crews, such as utility crews. On roads with only one traffic lane in each direction, drivers must slow down and be prepared to stop. Violators could face fines.
Stay Connected -- Duke Energy offers a number of ways for customers to get information about outages and restoration efforts.
- Online -- www.duke-energy.com/matthew. Customers can access outage maps and other information online from a computer or mobile device. Once on the map, customers can zoom in to their specific location and hover over the outage indicator nearest their home. A message box will appear showing total customers affected, status and an estimated time of restoration, if available
- Facebook -- www.facebook.com/dukeenergy
- Twitter – https://twitter.com/DukeEnergy
About Duke Energy
Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States, supplies and delivers electricity to approximately 7.4 million customers in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 24 million people. The company also distributes natural gas to more than 1.5 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its commercial and international businesses operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing renewable energy portfolio.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is an S&P 100 Stock Index 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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