Progress Energy offers update on outages

From staff reportsApril 16, 2011 

— Progress Energy has released this update on the power outages caused by today's storm, along with some tips:

Progress Energy working to restore service to customers across the Carolinas

Progress Energy is currently working to restore service to customers in the wake of severe storms and tornadoes that are passing through our service area. Storms have caused widespread outages in Central and Eastern North Carolina, as well as portions of South Carolina, with more than 175,000 customers currently without power. Crews are working to restore service to customers as safely and quickly as possible.

Storms continue to move through portions of Progress Energy’s service area, and additional outages are expected to occur throughout the evening.

The high winds have resulted in many downed power lines. Numerous transmission structures and lines are down, as well as power lines within communities across the utility’s service area. Crews are currently assessing damage across the system and assigning resources to the hardest hit locations.

Due to damage that has occurred to several large transmission structures, some areas hardest hit by the tornadoes and severe weather may require multiple days to restore. Progress Energy's current focus is on assessing damage and prioritizing repairs, but will provide additional information on restoration times as it becomes available.

Downed lines can be extremely dangerous and Progress Energy urges customers to take steps to protect their safety:

- Never go near downed power lines. Always assume they are energized and extremely dangerous. Never attempt to drive over a downed power line.

- Power lines can often become entangled in limbs or hidden by debris. Use extreme caution when removing limbs or debris to ensure that no power lines are present.

- Customers who see downed power lines should contact Progress Energy at 800-419-6356.

To report an outage

Customers who experience an outage should call Progress Energy’s automated outage reporting line at 1.800.419.6356. Progress Energy’s automated outage reporting system is capable of handling more than 120,000 calls per hour. Entering your phone number or Progress Energy account number ensures that Progress Energy knows about your outage and will capture that information in the company’s restoration plans. Customers can also request a call-back when service is restored.

Restoring service

Progress Energy is working to restore service to customers as quickly and safely as possible. After severe weather, crews take specific steps to restore power. Progress Energy crews first assess damage and determine what crews, equipment and supplies will be needed to make repairs.

The first repair priorities are the transmission lines, high-voltage lines that deliver electricity from power plants to substations. Without these lines, power cannot be delivered to customers. Also vital are substations, which reduce the voltage of electricity so power can be delivered to houses and businesses.

Once transmission lines and substations can again deliver power, Progress Energy assigns priority to lines that serve hospitals, police departments, emergency services and other facilities that are essential to public health and safety. Other restoration is prioritized by repairs that affect the largest number of customers. For example, a repair serving 200 customers is completed before a repair serving five customers. This is the quickest way to restore power to the most customers.

Safety first

Progress Energy’s first priority is the safety of its crews. Customers are encouraged to help keep crews safe by moving their vehicle over or slowing down when passing utility trucks parked along the side of the road. It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.

For more storm information or to view Progress Energy’s online outage map, visit Progress Energy's storm site.

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