CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Hurricane Matthew has left large portions of the Carolinas more heavily damaged than projected, on a scale similar to the destruction of Hurricanes Hugo and Floyd. In some Duke Energy service areas, the electrical system will need to be rebuilt.
Duke Energy is reporting 660,000 outages in the Carolinas.
In areas where the storm has cleared, Duke Energy crews have made progress and restored power to more than 400,000 customers. However, it could take up to a week to complete restorations. Specific estimated times of restoration will be posted on the Duke Energy website later today. 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
- Initiated six aerial patrols to assess damage and help develop restoration strategies
- Set up three "base camps" – tent cities where crews will eat, sleep, obtain their assignments and restock their vehicles
"It's very hazardous out there, and conditions aren't going to improve quickly," said Bobby Simpson, Duke Energy's storm director. "We are asking folks to be safe and be patient. The sun may be out today, but it doesn't mean everything is ok. We're looking at a long, difficult road to recovery."
Duke Energy has about 5,600 line workers, tree crews, damage assessors and support people in the field. These numbers will continue to increase as additional assistance arrives.
The first step of storm restoration is damage assessment. This will not only involve ground crews, but six aerial surveillance helicopters. For a better understanding, and to check on outages, go to www.duke-energy.com/matthew
Duke Energy's customer services has supplemented its 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.
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/duke.energy/
- Twitter -- twitter.com/dukeenergy
(Note: images of the devastated areas will be available later today.)
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.
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SOURCE Duke Energy