CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Duke Energy has restored power to 313,000 North Carolina and South Carolina customers impacted by Tropical Storm Irma’s high winds, and expects to restore electricity to the remaining 57,000 by 11 p.m. Friday, if not sooner.

New Duke Energy logo. (PRNewsFoto/Duke Energy)

Specific restoration times are available at https://news.duke-energy.com/irma.

At the height of the storm, 171,000 Duke Energy customers in the Carolinas were without power simultaneously.

More than 3,700 Duke Energy workers are making repairs to heavily damaged power lines and other electrical equipment in multiple cities, towns and rural areas in both states.

Crews are replacing more than 80 miles of damaged power lines, 300 utility poles and 125 transformers.

Hardest-hit areas are located in the North Carolina mountains (Buncombe, Jackson and Macon counties), and Upstate South Carolina (Anderson, Greenville, Pickens, Oconee and Laurens counties).

One example: In the North Carolina mountain town of Cashiers, damage in some areas was so severe that Duke Energy crews used bulldozers to cut temporary roads to access power lines and utility poles knocked down by large trees and other vegetation blown over by the storm’s high winds.

“We greatly appreciate our customers’ ongoing patience and graciousness as we work to restore power quickly and safely under some extremely challenging conditions,” said Tim Tripp, Duke Energy’s director of storm response for the Carolinas. “Our crews will continue to work long hours until every customer’s lights are back on.”

How to report power outages

Customers can report power outages by:

  • 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.

Safety reminders

  • Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with lines.
  • Report all power line hazards using the following phone numbers:
    • Duke Energy customers – 800.769.3766
    • Duke Energy Progress customers – 800.419.6356
  • Click here for a video demonstration and to read more about safety around power lines.
  • 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 your meter box is pulled away from your house – and you have no power – the homeowner is responsible for contacting an electrician for a permanent fix. In some instances, an electrical inspection may be required before Duke Energy can reconnect your service. Your electrician should be aware and advise you accordingly.
  • If the meter box is pulled away from the house – and you have power – you should call an electrician to reattach the meter box. Again, an electrical inspection may be required.

Strengthening power delivery in Carolinas

Duke Energy has invested more than $2.7 billion in the Carolinas to harden and upgrade its power delivery system since 2004. In addition to trimming trees and inspecting / replacing wood poles, the company has invested in grid automation and smart grid technologies, which improve service reliability and reduces the length and number of outages year-round.

The company is also moving forward with billions of dollars of investments in the Carolinas that include such grid hardening efforts as moving underground some overhead services that are routinely affected by dense vegetation and retrofitting hundreds of thousands of transformers with new technology to prevent animal interference and lightning strikes. 

For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

For more information, visit https://news.duke-energy.com/irma.

Duke Energy

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the United States. Its Electric Utilities and Infrastructure business unit serves approximately 7.5 million customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest. The company’s Gas Utilities and Infrastructure business unit distributes natural gas to approximately 1.6 million customers in the Carolinas, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Its Commercial Renewables business unit operates a growing renewable energy portfolio across the United States.

Duke Energy is a Fortune 125 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com

The Duke Energy News Center serves as a multimedia resource for journalists and features news releases, helpful links, photos and videos. Hosted by Duke Energy, illumination is an online destination for stories about people, innovations, and community and environmental topics. It also offers glimpses into the past and insights into the future of energy.

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SOURCE Duke Energy