Duke Energy projects winter storm could result in more than 500000 power outages

Duke Energy officials believe the approaching winter storm has potential to bring heavy wet snow, sleet and freezing rain to the Piedmont Triad, and across western North Carolina, will result in about 500,000 power outages or more for homes and businesses.

“There remains a lot of uncertainty with this storm,” said longtime Duke Energy chief meteorologist Nick Keener. “A slight change in the storm’s track or in the temperature could result in fewer or even more outages, so everyone needs to be prepared.”

More than six inches of snow or a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation will cause branches to sag and trees to fall, bringing power lines down with them. Additionally, hazardous road conditions can result in vehicle accidents which further increase the risk for power outages as cars hit power poles and other electrical infrastructure.

The company typically requires 12-24 hours to fully assess damage from a significant weather event, even while simultaneously restoring power. Winter storms can present additional challenges to moving personnel and equipment to hard hit areas.

Widespread power outages expected

Based on the current forecast, widespread, multiple-day power outages are expected for the Mountains, Foothills, Piedmont, Triad and Triangle areas of North Carolina and portions of Upstate South Carolina and customers should be prepared.

Duke Energy has more than 8,700 line and tree workers, damage assessors and support personnel ready to respond. However, weather and travel conditions may be hazardous and challenging, and could delay damage assessment and restoration.

Safety reminders

With temperatures below freezing, customers should make a plan to move family members – especially those with special needs – to a safe, alternative location in case an extended power outage occurs. We urge everyone to be prepared and stay safe – and encourage other family members, friends and neighbors to do the same.

  • If you plan to use a generator due to a power outage, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safe and proper operation. Operate your generator outside. Never operate it inside a building or garage.
  • Don’t use grills or other outdoor appliances or equipment indoors for space heating or cooking, as these devices may omit carbon monoxide.
  • Check and restock your emergency kits with flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc. Also, ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA radio is on hand.
  • Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized as well as trees or limbs in contact with lines. Please report downed power lines to Duke Energy.
  • If a power line falls across a car that you’re in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
  • If you are driving and encounter emergency responders or other roadside work crews, remember to MOVE OVER, it’s the law in North Carolina and South Carolina, and a good practice for all drivers.

Reporting outages

Customers who experience an outage during the storm have multiple ways on how to report it:

  • Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
  • Call the automated outage-reporting system at 800.POWERON for Duke Energy Carolinas customers and 800-419-6356 for Duke Energy Progress customers.
  • Report an outage or view current outages online at www.dukeenergyupdates.com

Duke Energy also will provide updates on its social media channels to keep customers informed if significant outages occur: