RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- North Carolina's electric cooperatives are awaiting Hurricane Irene, which is expected to bring heavy rain, flooding and high winds to the eastern part of the state as early as tomorrow morning. Extensive and prolonged power outages are expected in the hardest hit areas. Cooperative crews are ready to restore power as soon as possible should outages occur.
In storms such as this one, with sustained high winds and stronger gusts, power outages are most often caused by fallen trees and branches, making outages widespread and somewhat erratic. Because strong winds may not relent, you may experience another power outage even if you had power restored earlier.
The cooperatives encourage the public to be aware of the following:
- As the storm approaches, the electric cooperatives will continue to provide restoration service until conditions require then to stop for safety reasons.
- Customers can expect to experience flickering lights as wind speed increases with the hurricane's arrival. Sustained outages may begin early during the storm areas. Restoration efforts will begin when it is safe for crews to return to the field.
- Stay away from fallen power lines. Assume that any line is energized and potentially deadly. Report all downed power lines to your cooperative or 911.
- The electric co-ops will begin damage assessment immediately following the storm, including, if necessary, seeking help from other cooperatives.
- Electric cooperative members experiencing power outages should contact their electric cooperative directly. The outage reporting phone numbers for the state's 26 electric cooperatives and comprehensive storm and electric safety information can be found at www.ncelectriccooperatives.com.
North Carolina's electric cooperatives serve more than 2.5 million people in 93 of the state's 100 counties, primarily in rural parts of the state.
SOURCE North Carolina's electric cooperatives