Duke Energy just reported it has “restored power to more than 637,000 customers out of more than 1.1 million total outages in the Carolinas,” but cautions that as Tropical Storm Florence moves west tonight new outages may occur.
Still, it’s a big deal for hundreds of thousands of people tonight with lights.
The Duke outage map still shows more than 400,000 in the dark, however at 7 p.m. EST. The highest concentration of outages were in New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Onslow, Carteret, Cumberland, Moore, Robeson, Sampson, Wake counties.
Meanwhile, as of Saturday evening, more than 280,000 NC Electric Co-op customers have no power according to the outage map here.
But NC Electric Co-ops also tweeted Saturday morning that it had crews on the roads before dawn to begin restoring power.
And added that crews were on “alert” in central and mountain regions ready for new outages likely to crop up as rains continue.
In the meantime, a reminder to steer clear of downed lines and to stay close to home.
But after a damaging storm, the question is ‘When is my power coming back on?’ In this case, more than a million want to know and utility companies and officials anticipated widespread outages.
Duke Energy estimated it would have “1 to 3 million power outages due to Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas.”
Duke Energy has been updated its website and shared on social media the latest information about its plans for restoring power once it goes out. And Duke has a dedicated web page to update customers about when they can expect the lights to come back on.
For some, a power outage is an inconvenience, at best, and for others, life threatening at worst. People who require electrically-powered medical equipment for example would be particularity vulnerable.
And while living without electricity for a few days may be tolerable, for many, power will be out for weeks, federal officials say.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Office of Response and Recovery administrator Jeffrey Byard said a day before the storm and without prevarication: “The storm is going to definitely knock out power for days into weeks.”
Here’s what you need to know about power outages and restoration:
Here’s How to Report Your Power Outage. Don’t Assume the Utility Knows You’re Without Electricity
The whole block is without power so the utility company knows that, right? Maybe not. Power companies find out there’s an outage when it’s reported.
So when the lights go out, let Duke Energy know right away by going online and visiting the Duke Energy website, or on your phone text OUT to 57801 or call the automated outage-reporting system at 800-769-3766.
The Duke Energy Power Outage Map is Updated Every 15 Minutes. The NC Electric Co-op Outage Map is Similarly Updated
The Duke Energy interactive, area-wide outage map shows where all the outages are. Customers can search by zip code, street address or can check entire towns, cities, counties, indeed, the entire Duke Energy coverage area.
It’s also the place the utility reminds people that they need to report their outages.
Here’s a link to the NC Electric Cooperative outage map.
‘When Will the Lights Come Back On?’ How Duke Energy Restores Power
Duke Energy has more than 1,200 linemen already on the ground and it says there will be thousands of workers in place to get power back on once it goes out.
“More than 20,000 people will be in place to attack restoration as soon as it’s safe to do so. Right now, 1,200 line workers, contractors and related support personnel from Florida are on their way to the Carolinas to help in Hurricane #Florence efforts.”
Not unlike most power companies, Duke assess and repairs damage to transmission towers, power lines, and substations, then clears away downed trees and repairs poles and power lines and then, inspects and repairs any lingering service interruptions in neighborhoods.
“Restoring power after a massive storm can be extremely challenging for utility repair crews, as travel and work conditions can be impacted by high winds and widespread flooding – making repair work lengthy and difficult,” Duke Energy says.
“This will be a challenging time for our customers,” Fowler said. “As the storm approaches, we want them to remain safe and we appreciate their patience as Duke Energy works to restore damage.”
Duke Energy Mobilized Early, But Power Could be Out for Weeks Not Days, it Said
“The magnitude of the storm is beyond what we have seen in years,” said Howard Fowler, Duke Energy’s incident commander. “With the storm expected to linger, power restoration work could take weeks instead of days.”
Duke Energy said this will be the “largest resource mobilization ever for Duke Energy.”
“Despite our workforce, customers should continue to make plans for their homes and facilities,” said Fowler. “It’s important for people to know this is no ordinary storm and customers could be without power for a very long time – not days, but weeks.”
Be careful. Stay safe.