CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Power has been restored to more than 600,000 Duke Energy customers in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew over the weekend.
Over 550,000 customers are without power now. In North Carolina, 410,000 customers are without power. In South Carolina: 140,000 customers.
The peak time for outages was 8 a.m. Sunday when 680,000 customers were without power simultaneously.
Duke Energy posted estimated times of restoration on its website today. Customers in some of the hardest-hit counties might be without power all week. High water in many areas have prevented access and restoration in the hardest-hit area – in addition to flooding electrical facilities.
"Flooding, downed trees and power lines have resulted in major power outages to our region, and we have discovered more than 800 broken poles and miles of downed lines – and still counting," said Duke Energy storm director Bobby Simpson. "We appreciate our customers' patience as we work to restore outages as quickly and safely as possible.
"Our estimated restoration times reflect the latest time a customer's power could be restored," added Simpson. "However, as crews assess specific areas, these times may be improved."
In some areas, the damage seen is on a scale similar to the destruction of Hurricanes Hugo and Floyd. Duke Energy crews have made progress in the past 24 hours and restored power to more than 600,000 customers.
To maximize its effort, Duke Energy has:
- Contacted the Southeastern Electric Exchange and other utilities and related services to bring in roughly 6,000 additional personnel
- Set up three "base camps" – tent cities where crews will eat, sleep, obtain their assignments and restock their vehicles
Duke Energy has about 5,800 line workers, tree crews, damage assessors and support people in the field. These numbers will continue to increase as additional assistance arrives – some from as far away as Canada.
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.
Due to flooding, Duke Energy personnel have completed required dam inspections at its power plants in the Carolinas. All dams are operating safely with no issues identified.
Severe flooding near the Weatherspoon Plant in Lumberton, N.C., has caused a nearby creek to rise and flow into the retired plant's cooling pond. This inflow from the creek is causing storm water to flow from the cooling pond into the Lumber River and through our permitted outfall. The ash basin was not affected, and the cooling pond dam remains stable.
We also are monitoring the Neuse River near the H.F. Lee Plant in Goldsboro, N.C., and the National Weather Service predicts it will continue to rise. This has caused the river to flow across three wooded, inactive ash basins and may cause the river to flow into the cooling pond. The active ash basin is not affected. State regulators have participated in site inspections at both plants.
Duke Energy urges everyone to be safe during this challenging time. Please follow these important tips:
- Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all power lines energized, as well as trees or limbs in contact with power lines. 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.
The Duke Energy News Center serves as a multimedia resource for journalists and features news releases, helpful links, photos and videos. Hosted by Duke Energy, illumination is an online destination for stories about remarkable people, innovations, and community and environmental topics. It also offers glimpses into the past and insights into the future of energy.
Media Line (24-hour): 800.559.3853
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SOURCE Duke Energy