CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Tropical Storm Zeta's powerful winds raced through North Carolina and South Carolina today, cutting power to more than 500,000 Duke Energy customers at the height of the storm – more than 10 percent of the company's total customers in the two-state region.
More than 2,600 of Duke Energy's Carolinas-based repair workers began what is expected to be a multi-day power restoration process.
Duke Energy also is moving to the Carolinas more than 650 of its Midwest- and Florida-based repair workers to assist. In addition, the company has requested supplemental repair crews from other electric utility companies through the Southeastern Electric Exchange.
As of 5 p.m., 369,000 customers – 264,000 in North Carolina and 105,000 in South Carolina – remained without power.
Duke Energy will provide estimated power restoration times for specific counties – once those estimates have been determined – 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. (Sign up to receive outage alerts.)
In addition to making repairs, Duke Energy crews are surveying the extent of damage to utility poles and power lines. Damage assessment is an important part of the power restoration process as it helps determine where the company will deploy its workers, equipment and other resources.
"I want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as our crews work to safely restore power as quickly as possible, while also adhering to COVID-related safe work practices," said Jason Hollifield, Duke Energy's Carolinas incident commander. "We know this is a particularly difficult time for our customers to lose power, as many are working from home and attending school remotely due to the pandemic."
Hardest hit counties
North Carolina's hardest hit counties include: Catawba, Chatham, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Graham, Guilford, Henderson, Iredell, Lincoln, Macon, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Polk, Randolph, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stokes, Swain, Transylvania, Vance and Yadkin.
South Carolina's hardest hit counties include: Anderson, Cherokee, Chesterfield, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and York.
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.
How to report power outages
Customers who experience a power outage can report using any of the following methods:
- Visit duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device.
- Use the Duke Energy mobile app (download the Duke Energy App on your smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play).
- Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).
- Call Duke Energy's automated outage-reporting system:
- Duke Energy Carolinas: 1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766)
- Duke Energy Progress: 800.419.6356
How 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.
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.
Important safety tips
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.
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.
SOURCE Duke Energy