Duke Energy Crews Restore Power to Most of the Nearly 600,000 Customers Impacted by Major Storm in Carolinas

- More than 600 additional out-of-state workers helping to complete repairs - Company expects to restore power in hardest hit areas no later than Thursday

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.  

"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.

Source: Duke Energy
Date: Apr 15, 2020