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Progress Energy to restore 95 percent of customers by midnight Wednesday

Posted Monday, August 29, 2011

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Raleigh, NC - Progress Energy crews have restored service to more than 330,000 customers since Hurricane Irene first began lashing the Carolinas on Friday. The company expects to restore service to the majority of remaining customers without power by midnight Tuesday, with 95 percent of restorations complete by midnight Wednesday.

In the hardest-hit areas with the most severe damage, final repairs to customers able to receive power will likely continue into Thursday. This includes the areas around Zebulon, Selma, Spring Hope, New Bern, Jacksonville, Morehead City and Kinston.

Progress Energy completed a comprehensive damage assessment in less than 24 hours after Hurricane Irene left the state. The company sent 71 damage-assessment teams into the field on Saturday and Sunday to gather information that helps the company prioritize resources and establish accurate estimated times of restoration. In parallel with the system assessment, line and tree crews were out in the field making repairs wherever possible.

More than 2,200 line, tree and support personnel are repairing damage to the electricity grid and working to restore approximately 120,600 customers still without power as of 8 p.m. Counties with the largest numbers of remaining outages include:

Craven County - 16,900
Carteret County - 15,800
Wayne County - 13,400
Nash County - 11,400
Onslow County - 11,000
Lenoir County - 8,300
New Hanover County - 6,500
Franklin County - 6,100

There are fewer than 5,000 outages remaining in several counties across eastern and central North Carolina. The highest number of outages at any one time was estimated at approximately 280,000 around 2 p.m. Saturday. The actual number of customers who experienced outages at one time or another during the storm was significantly higher. In fact, since noon on Friday, Aug. 26, as the first bands of Hurricane Irene reached the Carolinas, more than 451,000 customers have lost power for varying periods.

We focus initially on restoring service to major facilities, such as power plants and transmission lines, and then work on distribution feeder lines, then smaller power lines and, ultimately, individual service. This helps ensure that we get the largest number of customers back in service the fastest.

During the storm, the company lost operation of 14 transmission lines and 22 substations, which serve as the “backbone” of the electric grid. The company expects to have all but one transmission line and two substations repaired by 6 a.m. Monday.

Customers who have not yet reported their power out should do so by calling 1-800-419-6356. Our automated outage-reporting system is capable of handling 120,000 calls per hour. Customers who have already registered their account can also report outages by smart phone on our newly launched mobile website at m.progress-energy.com.

Progress Energy asks customers to be safe on roadways and to give a wide berth to utility crews working to restore service. It’s not just a good idea; it’s the law. Report any downed power lines to Progress Energy at 1-800-419-6356. Don’t go near downed power lines, and keep children and pets away, too. Always assume a power line is energized and dangerous.

New tools to track outages and restoration
Customers and media can find outage information on Progress Energy's website 24 hours a day at www.progress-energy.com/outagemap. The map is being updated at regular intervals throughout the day.

Progress Energy is also using social media channels to keep customers informed throughout the storm restoration process. The company will post regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/progressenergy and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProgressEnergyCarolinas.

Safety after the storm

  • Never go near downed power lines. Always assume they are energized and extremely dangerous. If someone suffers an electric shock, call 911 or your local rescue squad immediately. Even minor shocks may cause serious health problems later.
  • Check for electrical damage inside your home, such as frayed wires, sparks or the smell of burning insulation. If you find damage, don’t turn your power on until an electrician inspects your system and makes necessary repairs.
  • Walk and drive cautiously. Watch out for debris-filled streets and weakened bridges. Snakes and insects can be a problem after storms.
  • Use your emergency water supply or boil water before drinking it until local officials deem the water supply safe. Report broken sewer or water mains.
  • Make temporary repairs to protect property from further damage or looting. Beware of unscrupulous contractors.
  • Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s electrical system. It is dangerous to you, your neighbors and utility workers. Follow manufacturer’s directions regarding connecting appliances directly to your generator.
For more storm and safety information, visit Progress Energy's storm site at www.progress-energy.com/storm.
 
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