CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A winter storm continues to move through the Carolinas today, cutting power to 67,000 Duke Energy customers so far, with more power outages likely to occur later today and into early Monday.
Power outages in some areas might last several days, depending on conditions.
As of 11:15 a.m. today, 27,000 customers in North Carolina and 40,000 in South Carolina had no power. (Outage map)
Hardest hit counties
So far, North Carolina's hardest hit counties, in terms of power outages, include: Gaston, Jackson, Macon and Swain.
South Carolina's hardest hit counties for power outages so far include: Anderson, Darlington, Florence, Greenville, Greenwood, Kershaw, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Sumter.
"I thank our customers, in advance, for their patience and understanding during what could be a multi-day power-restoration process, given the expected widespread damage to our electric distribution system across both states," said Jason Hollifield, Duke Energy Carolinas storm director.
"Our crews are ready to begin power restoration as soon as weather conditions safely allow, but ongoing hazardous weather and dangerous road conditions initially will slow our ability to assess damage, make repairs and estimate power restoration times," Hollifield said.
11,000 response workers from multiple states
In advance of the storm, Duke Energy strategically staged more than 11,000 workers ? power line technicians, damage assessors and vegetation workers ? across the Carolinas.
Those workers include Duke Energy crews normally based in Florida, Indiana and Ohio ? and mutual assistance crews from other companies in Canada, Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Oklahoma and other states ? who traveled to the Carolinas to assist North Carolina- and South Carolina-based Duke Energy workers.
Heavy ice on trees, branches, power lines
Ice buildup on trees and branches that causes them to fall on power lines is usually the main culprit behind power outages during a winter storm. Specifically, ice buildup of a quarter-inch or more is often the threshold amount that causes trees and branches to topple.
The heavy weight of significant ice buildup directly on power lines themselves can sometimes cause the lines to fall or sag, as well. Heavy, wet snow of six inches or more also can cause trees and branches to fall on power lines.
After the storm, as conditions permit, crews will begin assessing the extent of damage ? a process that can take 24 hours or more following storms that cause widespread damage and hazardous driving conditions.
Damage assessments determine the types of crews, equipment and supplies needed to restore power.
Power restoration crews will begin working immediately after the storm as soon as it's safe to do so. Restoration efficiency improves as damage assessment information is available to ensure the right workers and materials are dispatched to each power outage location.
Keeping customers informed
Customers can report power outages by texting "OUT" to 57801, and find the most up to date information on the company's outage map.
Duke Energy will provide estimated power restoration times to impacted customers as soon as the company can accurately determine those estimated times, which likely will be Monday.
The company also will provide regular updates to customers and communities through emails, text messages, outbound phone calls, social media and its website, which includes power outage maps.
Duke Energy serves 4.3 million customers in the Carolinas ? 3.5 million in North Carolina; 800,000 in South Carolina.
Duke Energy's power restoration process
More information about how crews restore power after a major storm ? restoration process.
Important safety information for customers
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.
In addition, the Red Cross maintains an update-to-date list of open shelter locations ? https://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery-services/find-an-open-shelter.html.
Follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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:
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.
Avoid customer scams
Customers should be alert to scammers who might call them ? impersonating Duke Energy representatives and threatening to cut off customers' power before or during the storm unless customers make an immediate payment for late bills or other charges.
Duke Energy never makes such calls.
Below are tips for customers to avoid such scams:
Sign up for outage alerts
Customers can receive the most up-to-date information about power restoration efforts by enrolling in Outage Alerts.
How to report power outages
Customers who experience a power outage can report the outage using Duke Energy's automated outage-reporting systems for their respective utility:
Duke Energy also will provide updates on its social media channels to keep customers informed if significant outages occur:
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America's largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 7.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 51,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 27,500 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities ? with goals of at least a 50% carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to own or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. The company also is investing in major electric grid upgrades and expanded battery storage, and exploring zero-emitting power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2021 "World's Most Admired Companies" list and Forbes' "America's Best Employers" list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy's illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Media contact: 800.559.3853
SOURCE Duke Energy
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