CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Severe thunderstorms with high winds raced through North Carolina and South Carolina overnight Sunday into Monday morning, disrupting service to more than 500,000 customers. At 9:14 Monday morning, at the height of the storm, more than 325,000 customers were without power.
Duke Energy crews have restored power to 368,000 of the more than 500,000 customers impacted.
As of 4 p.m. today, 132,000 customers remained without power – 92,000 in North Carolina and 40,000 in South Carolina.
The hardest hit areas include Western North Carolina, where heavy rains and mud slides contributed to the damage, and Upstate South Carolina where a tornado was confirmed to have touched down in Oconee County.
Duke Energy crews continue to assess damage and make repairs, where possible. Damage assessment is an important part of overall restoration as it helps determine where the company will deploy its workers, equipment and other resources.
Additional information about repair efforts -- including estimated restoration times once determined -- will be available on Duke Energy's outage map no later than 8 p.m. tonight at duke-energy.com/outages/current-outages.
Customers who are registered for Duke Energy text alerts will receive a text once an estimated restoration time is established for their location.
Safely restoring power within COVID-19 guidelines
Duke Energy continues to adhere to coronavirus-related protective measures for power line crews and tree crews and asks that customers maintain social distancing. Avoid approaching Duke Energy crews in the field or entering their work zone as they restore power; if you do need to speak with someone, be advised that employees will maintain at least six feet of separation.
Some of the company's proactive measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 may impact the ability to move crews – across the state and from out of state – and provide overnight housing. All incoming crews will follow screening protocols including health questionnaires, proactive reporting of possible exposures, removal from work and self-isolation.
Important safety reminders
The company provided the following reminders to customers:
- If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and stay away. Report downed lines to Duke Energy immediately. Click here for a video demonstration and to read more about safety around power lines.
- Never bring a generator indoors. Generators should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed.
- Adhere to stay-at-home orders and help crews avoid distraction by supporting social distancing guidelines as they work. If it is necessary to leave home, customers should move over or slow down if they see utility crews or other first responders working along roads.
Tips for protecting refrigerated food during a power outage
For customers without power who have filled their refrigerators and freezers as part of their stay-at-home plans, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends the following tips:
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
- A refrigerator can keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. If the power will be out for more than 4 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.
The FDA offers additional tips 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
Customers who experience an outage during the storm can report it by:
- Visiting duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device
- Texting OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
- Calling the automated outage-reporting system at 800-769-3766 for Duke Energy Carolinas customers and 800-419-6356 for Duke Energy Progress customers.
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 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit.
Duke Energy is transforming its customers' experience, modernizing the energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit's regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Gas Utilities and Infrastructure unit distributes natural gas to more than 1.6 million customers in five states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The Duke Energy Renewables unit operates wind and solar generation facilities across the U.S., as well as energy storage and microgrid projects.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2019 "World's Most Admired Companies" list, and Forbes' 2019 "America's Best Employers" list. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy's illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
SOURCE Duke Energy