Duke Energy prepares for power outages in Southeastern North Carolina

Duke Energy crews ready to respond to power outages.
Duke Energy crews ready to respond to power outages.(WECT News)
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 1:17 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Duke Energy has placed 2,500 response workers, power line technicians, damage assessors and vegetation workers, in coastal areas of North Carolina and parts of South Carolina ahead of Friday and Saturday’s storm.

In Wilmington, there are 200 trucks and 100 workers staged off Raleigh Street ready to support local crews. The response workers staged there are actually from the Midwest and have helped out with other storms in North Carolina throughout January.

“This particular crew has been here working the previous storm earlier this week in North Carolina and we deployed them down to the coast,” said Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson for Duke Energy. “They’re from the Midwest and there are about 200 line and tree workers who will be assisting our local crews here in restoring power throughout the weekend.”

All it take is a quarter of an inch of ice or freezing rain for tree limbs to fall and knock down power lines, which could lead to hours of repairs.

“The challenge with a winter storm is you don’t get one large outage to restore — you get hundreds and potentially thousands very small outages, 20,30 customers that could take several hours each to repair,” Brooks said. “When you look at the scale of that, you need a large contingent of workers to be able to address that and that’s why these crews are here.”

It’s essentially a waiting game for crews until outages start getting reported. Brooks said they will be watching conditions closely.

“It only takes about a quarter of an inch of ice from freezing rain to cause tree limbs to come down and cause power outages, so the sleet doesn’t do that, snow doesn’t really do that, but freezing rain does and that’s what we’re forecast to have here,” he said. “We’ll really be watching to see how many hours of that we get below freezing to determine when we might see some outages.”

Crews will be available to restore power throughout the evening. Overnight, work in ice-damaged areas can be challenging because “of hanging limbs and debris,” Brooks said.

“We just have to look at each outage situation and will restore power as long as it’s safe to do so,” he said.

Customers can report power outages by texting “OUT” to 57801 – and find the latest information on the company’s outage maps.

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