RALEIGH — Utility crews are working tonight to restore electricity to an estimated 196,000 Progress Energy customers still without power as of 10 p.m., including 8,700 in Wake County, company officials said.
That's down from a peak of more than 279,000 customers at 2 p.m.
Progress Energy warned Saturday that it will take several days to complete repairs, especially in the hardest-hit areas. Once the damage assessment is completed by the end of Sunday, the company will provide a "return to service" estimate for all customers.
About 8,700 customers in Wake County were still without electricity as of 10 p.m., Progress Energy said. Another 8,900 customers were without electricity in Johnston County.
Crews will use helicopters, boats and all-terrain vehicles to pinpoint trouble spots, officials said. Where possible, crews will make repairs while the damage assessment is being completed. The company has more than 1,000 line workers and tree crews on standby to restore power in North Carolina.
The top priority is to repair transmission lines, which are high-voltage lines that deliver electricity from power plants to substations. From substations, electricity is delivered to communities by feeder and tap lines. After making repairs to the large transmission lines, crews join line and service crews in repairing tap and service lines.
You can report power outages by calling 800-419-6356. The companys automated outage-reporting system can handle up to 120,000 calls per hour.