About 600,000 utility customers were without power Saturday evening, and thousands more could be knocked out Sunday as Hurricane Matthew sloshes across the state.
About 450,000 of the affected customers get their electricity from Duke Energy Progress, and almost 150,000 customers are with rural electric cooperatives.
Hundreds of customers served by North Carolina’s municipal power agencies had also lost power Saturday, but a comprehensive tally was not available. As of mid-afternoon Saturday, about 1,000 municipal power customers in Apex were without power and 90 percent of Laurinburg had gone dark. Smithfield, New Bern and several other towns had just 50 customers without electricity.
Most North Carolinians get electricity from Duke Energy Carolinas or Duke Energy Progress, but some are connected to a rural co-op or a municipal agency. The co-ops and munis obtain their power wholesale from Duke or other large utilities and resell it to households and businesses in their service area.
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The power outages were concentrated in the eastern side of the state, which is closer to the powerful center of Hurricane Matthew and more exposed to strong winds. But relentless rain, waterlogged soil and localized flooding brought down trees in the Triangle and other parts of the state as well.
Duke could not provide an estimate on a total restoration of outages, as some of the outages were still expected and hadn’t yet happened.
“In some of the harder hit areas,” said spokeswoman Meredith Archie, “we expect to have to rebuild portions of our system before we can restore power, and that takes time.”
Archie said Duke Energy has deployed a “restoration army” totaling about 5,600 line workers, tree crews, damage assessors and support people to respond to outages. Crews are staged throughout eastern and central North Carolina, awaiting deployment as soon as the storm passes and it is safe to work, she said.
Duke is directing customers to check on outage updates at: https://news.duke-energy.com/severe-weather
To report an outage.
- Duke Energy Carolinas – 800-769-3766
- Duke Energy Progress – 800-419-6356
Customers of Rural Electric Coopertives and Municipal Power Agencies should contact their local provider.