CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Power restoration continued today as crews completed numerous repairs across North Carolina and South Carolina following the powerful wind and rain storm that plowed through the two states Sunday night and Monday morning.
Hundreds of individual residential power outages remain in remote, hard-to-access areas, as well as along rural roads and in city neighborhoods.
As of 5 p.m. today, Duke Energy crews had restored power to most of the nearly 600,000 total customers who lost power during the storm.
About 25,000 customers remained without power. Full power restoration is expected no later than Thursday.
Specific power restoration times are available on Duke Energy's online outage map duke-energy.com/outages/current-outages.
"I want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as our employees and contractors worked to restore power during this challenging time," said Duke Energy storm director Jason Hollifield.
"There was nothing routine about this response. Crews in the field worked safely under coronavirus-related social distancing guidelines – supported by a virtual army of thousands of other teammates working remotely to deliver customer service, communications, supplies, logistics, safety measures and all the essential work it takes to mount a response equal to what normally occurs in-person during major storms," Hollifield said.
Additional crews reinforce power restoration work within COVID-19 guidelines
Throughout the response effort, Duke Energy has incorporated social distancing practices and other protective measures to help protect employees and customers. Responding to a major storm amidst the coronavirus pandemic has also created challenges for securing additional resources from out of state to assist response efforts in the Carolinas.
"This storm response comes at an unprecedented time for our nation as we also work to protect our communities," said Hollifield. "Securing additional resources from out of state has been a challenge, and our protective measures have implications for how we can stage, house and incorporate out-of-state power line and tree crews."
In addition to local crews working in communities across the state, Duke Energy was successful in securing more than 600 additional line and vegetation workers to assist with the response effort, including Duke Energy crews from Florida and the Midwest.
All incoming crews have been required to adhere to the same social distancing and protective measures, as well as screenings to help ensure work is conducted safely.
Screening protocols including health questionnaires, proactive reporting of possible exposures, removal from work and self-isolation.
Customers are asked to help crews work safely during this storm and every day by maintaining 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.
Smart technology improving outage response
Duke Energy has been making grid improvements across the Carolinas and incorporating smart technologies to help crews in the field during outage restorations.
These technologies, including remote monitoring and line switches, as well as smart, self-healing systems helped to reduce the number and duration of power outages across the Carolinas during this wind event.
This smart-thinking grid technology can often restore power in less than a minute and can reduce the number of customers impacted by a power outage by as much as 75 percent.
Smart meters also continue to play an important role in outage response, helping improve outage detection and assisting crews in the field more quickly confirm when power has been restored to customers following a repair.
Most customers in the Carolinas are now served through a smart meter on their home or business. Duke Energy is installing self-healing technologies on its main power lines in both North Carolina and South Carolina and expects that most customers will be served by some form of this smart technology over the next few years.
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.
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.
- Additional information about repair efforts is available on Duke Energy's outage map at duke-energy.com/outages/current-outages.
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.
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