Duke Energy estimates 750,000 customers could lose power due to approaching winter storm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) — Duke Energy says dangerous winter precipitation from the approaching winter storm this weekend could result in loss of power to about 750,000 customers in North Carolina and South Carolina, on the base of the storm’s current forecast track.
Power outages in some of the hardest hit areas could last for days.
Ahead of the storm, which could last two days, Duke Energy strategically organized more than 10,000 workers — power line technicians, damage assessors and vegetation workers — across the Carolinas.
About 4,100 of those workers come from other companies, some based in Texas and Oklahoma.
The more than 10,000 total workers also include Duke Energy crews normally based in Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky who traveled to the Carolinas to assist Duke Energy workers based in North Carolina and Carolina. from South.
All crews are ready to begin power restoration as soon as weather conditions safely permit.
Ice buildup on trees and branches that causes them to fall on power lines is usually the main culprit for power outages during a winter storm.
Specifically, an ice accumulation of a quarter inch or more is often the threshold that causes trees and branches to fall.
The heavy weight of heavy ice accretion directly on the power lines themselves can sometimes cause the lines to fall or sag.
Heavy, wet snow six inches or more can also knock down trees and branches on power lines.
Duke Energy meteorologists continue to monitor weather conditions and the company is developing plans accordingly.
Travel conditions could be hazardous and difficult after the storm passes, which could delay the ability of Duke Energy crews to access hard-hit areas to assess storm damage and begin power restoration.
After the storm, if conditions allow, damage assessment crews will begin to assess the extent of the damage – which can sometimes take 24 hours or more during major storms with extensive damage and hazardous driving conditions.
Damage assessments determine the types of crews, equipment, and supplies needed to restore power.
Power restoration crews will begin work immediately after the storm, but restoration efficiency will improve as damage assessment information is available to ensure the right workers and materials are sent to each power failure location.
Duke Energy will provide customers with estimated power restoration times once damage assessments are complete.
The company will also provide regular updates to customers and communities through email, text, outbound phone calls, social media and its website, which includes power outage maps.
The company is working closely with state officials in North Carolina and South Carolina to prepare for the storm.
Duke Energy serves 4.3 million customers in the Carolinas – 3.5 million in North Carolina; 800,000 in South Carolina.
Duke Energy Power Recovery Process
More information on how crews restore power after a major storm – restoration process.
How customers can prepare
Duke Energy customers can take steps now to prepare for the storm:
- Ensure you have an adequate supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food, medications, etc., as well as the availability of a portable radio, television or weather radio at Battery.
- Customers should provide alternative shelter as needed if significantly affected by a power outage, especially families with special medical needs or the elderly.
- If a power line falls across a car you are in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other life-threatening situation, do your best to get out of the car and land on both feet. Make sure no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
- Be aware that snow can cause dangerous driving conditions leading to traffic accidents and downed utility poles leading to isolated breakdowns. If you are driving and encounter emergency responders or other roadside work crews, remember to MOVE.
- If you are using a generator due to a power outage, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safe and proper operation. Run your generator outdoors; never use it inside a building or garage.
- Do not use grills or other outdoor appliances or equipment indoors for heating or cooking, as these appliances can emit carbon monoxide.
- Stay away from downed or sagging power lines. Consider all live lines as well as trees or branches in contact with the lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy or local emergency services.
- Prepare for an emergency by purchasing a Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Kit.
You can find more tips on what to do before, during and after a storm at duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/storm-safety.
A checklist serves as a useful guide, but it is essential before, during and after a storm to follow the instructions and warnings of emergency management officials in your area.
If you lose power and need to move to a shelter, the Red Cross maintains an up-to-date list of open locations – https://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and -recovery-services/find-open-shelter.html.
Follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to protect refrigerated food during power outages
For customers who lack power and have full refrigerators and freezers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following:
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep the temperature cold.
- A refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours if it is not open. If the power is out for more than four hours, use coolers to keep refrigerated foods cool.
- A full freezer will hold temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if half full) if the door is left closed.
The FDA offers additional guidance for proper food handling and storage before, during, and after a power outage at www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/food-and-water-safety -during-power-outages-and-floods.
Subscribe to outage alerts
Customers can receive the most up-to-date information on power restoration efforts by subscribing to outage alerts.
How to report a power outage
Customers who experience a power outage can report the outage using Duke Energy’s automated outage reporting systems for their respective utility:
- Customers can report an outage by texting “OUT” to 57801, and also report an outage or view current outages on the Duke Energy mobile app or at www.duke-energy.com/outages.
- Duke Energy Carolinas: 1.800.POWERON (1.800.769.3766)
- Duke Energy Progress: 1.800.419.6356
Duke Energy will also provide updates on its social media channels to keep customers informed in the event of major outages:
- Duke Energy on Twitter: twitter.com/DukeEnergy
- Duke Energy on Facebook: facebook.com/DukeEnergy
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