For some customers in flooded areas, it may be weeks, not days, before power restored
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Since the weekend, Duke Energy crews have reduced the number of customer outages caused by Hurricane Matthew from roughly 1.4 million to fewer than 60,000 – a company record pace for restorations in similar storms.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, flood waters in the hardest hit communities might not drop below flood stage for nine days.
Power restoration crews will be unable to access electrical lines and equipment until flood waters recede.
Those areas include: Clinton, Goldsboro, Kinston and Lumberton in North Carolina; and Florence, Hartsville and Marion in South Carolina.
"We share our customers' frustration and are grateful for their understanding," said Bobby Simpson, who is overseeing Duke Energy's restoration efforts. "We have the personnel, equipment and desire to bring everyone back on, but the hard reality is there are still areas that are literally under water. Water and electricity simply don't mix."
Simpson noted reports that some customers have tried to reconnect their own power, and he strongly urged against it.
"Please do not let this deadly storm take any more lives," he said. "The minute the water recedes, and it's safe for us to physically access those areas with our equipment, we'll be there."
At its peak, 680,000 Duke Energy customers were without power Sunday morning, Oct. 9.
In terms of outages, Hurricane Matthew is the fifth-worst storm to hit the combined Duke Energy Carolinas/Duke Energy Progress service area – with damage similar in scale and severity to past storms such as Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Meter box damage
Customers whose homes have damaged meter boxes will need to get them repaired and inspected to avoid delays in restoration. Here's a video explaining meter-box damage.
If a customer's meter box is pulled away from the house, and the house is without power, the homeowner is responsible for contacting an electrician for a permanent fix. An electrical inspection may be required before Duke Energy can reconnect service.
If the meter box is pulled away from the house and the house still has power, the customer should call an electrician to re-attach the meter box.
If your residence or business is flooded, a local building inspector may need to inspect the structure before power can be reconnected.
Duke Energy urges everyone to be safe during this challenging time. Please follow these important tips:
- Anyone encountering electrical equipment after a storm, whether it is a downed power line, a substation or a solar site, should take extreme caution and assume that the equipment is energized -- especially do not go near electrical equipment when it is immersed in standing water.
- Power lines can be hidden by debris and standing water so please be extremely careful moving around in damaged or flooded 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.
Flooding and H.F. Lee Plant update
Ash basin dams at the company's Carolinas' facilities are operating safely and have not been affected by historic floods brought by Hurricane Matthew.
Flooding continues to subside near the retired Weatherspoon Plant in Lumberton, N.C. We expect to complete minor maintenance on the cooling pond dam following this high water event.
The Neuse River near the H.F. Lee Plant in Goldsboro, N.C., reached its record level at the plant yesterday morning, and is declining. A break in the cooling pond dam wall that occurred mid-day yesterday continues to release water from the cooling pond to the river. The event has caused very minimal impact to the already flooded river level. Engineers are finalizing a repair plan, and the company is positioning materials on plant property so crews can safely proceed with work once flooding subsides.
The company is monitoring conditions, and state regulators continue to support operations at both plants.
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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