CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- With the remnants of Hurricane Zeta expected to travel across North Carolina and South Carolina Thursday, Duke Energy has readied its crews for a multi-day restoration effort and has more than 2,600 workers prepared to respond to power outages, which are expected to primarily affect Upstate South Carolina, western and Piedmont North Carolina.
Additionally, more than 300 workers are prepared and ready to travel tomorrow from the company's Midwest service territory – Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky – and Florida to supplement Carolina-based crews in power restoration, if needed.
Workers will adhere to CDC recommendations for COVID safe work practices
During non-pandemic times, restoring power after a storm can be difficult for utility repair crews as travel and work conditions can be affected by high winds, fallen trees and flooding.
Now, in addition to addressing those standard challenges, Duke Energy's detailed storm response plan has incorporated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) recommendations for COVID safe work practices and physical distancing measures to help keep customers and communities safe.
Duke Energy requests that customers remain outside of marked work zones and refrain from approaching repair crews.
We're prepared; we encourage customers to prepare as well
Before a storm hits, customers can sign up to receive outage alerts, and ensure contact information is current and communication preferences specified.
Customers who experience a power outage can report it the following ways:
Duke Energy encourages customers to have a plan in place if they experience a power outage. Below are tips to help you and your family stay safe.
Create (or update) an emergency supply kit to save valuable time later. The kit should include everything an individual or family would need for at least two weeks, especially medicines, water, non-perishable foods and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm strikes. Your emergency kit should also include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, bar or liquid soap, and face coverings aligned with CDC guidance.
Keep a portable radio or TV, or NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather forecasts and important information from state and local officials.
Charge cellphones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of storms to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.
Maintain a plan to move family members – especially those with special needs – to a safe, alternative location in case an extended power outage occurs or evacuation is required. When checking on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.
If a power line falls across a car that 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 that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
If you need to go to a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More tips on what to do before, during and after a storm can be found at duke-energy.com/safety-and-preparedness/storm-safety. A checklist serves as a helpful guide, but it's critical before, during and after a storm to follow the instructions and warnings of emergency management officials in your area.
Preparing for high water along Catawba River
Duke Energy has been lowering lake levels by aggressively moving water through the river system. Lake residents should prepare for possible flooding conditions and closely monitor lake levels. High water conditions can create navigational hazards.
We urge people living along lakes and rivers or in flood-prone areas to use caution, follow directions from emergency managers, pay close attention to changing weather and streamflow conditions and stay informed.
Duke Energy's lake services phone line: 800.829.5253.
Duke Energy's free Lake View app (download on your smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play).
Power restoration process
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. Click here for information on how Duke Energy restores power.
Tips to protect refrigerated food during power outages
For customers who lose 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 maintain the cold temperature.
A refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened. If the power will be out for more than four hours, use coolers to keep refrigerated food cold.
A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 29,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities and 2,300 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.