Duke Energy urges customers in the Carolinas to prepare for potential impacts from Nicole

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  • Gusty winds coupled with very heavy rains could lead to outages in Nicole’s path
  • Line and tree crews ready to respond to outages in the Carolinas

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Heavy rains and gusty winds are expected to accompany Tropical Storm Nicole as it passes through the Carolinas on Friday, bringing the potential for high winds, flooding and widespread power outages. While this late season storm is expected to weaken some during its journey over land from Florida, Duke Energy urges customers to prepare for the possibility of outages along the path of the storm.

“Nicole is a large storm with very heavy rains and gusty winds, a combination that could potentially bring down trees and cause power outages in some areas,” said Jason Hollifield, Duke Energy’s Carolinas storm director. “We have thousands of line and tree workers across the Carolinas ready to respond and have worked to strengthen the grid and add smart technologies that can help reduce the impacts of tropical storms on customers.”

Duke Energy serves more than 4 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. The company maintains a force of around 6,000 line and tree workers across both states that can be deployed locally or moved quickly, as needed, to support outage restoration in hard hit areas.

Safety information

The safety of our customers and communities is important. Duke Energy encourages customers to have a plan in place to respond to an extended power outage after a hurricane or other severe weather. Below are some tips:

Before the storm

  • Create (or update) an emergency supply kit to save valuable time later. The kit should include everything an individual or family would need for at least two weeks, especially medicines, water, non-perishable foods and other supplies that might be hard to find after a storm hits.
  • Keep a portable radio or TV or a NOAA weather radio on hand to monitor weather forecasts and important information from state and local officials.
  • Charge mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices in advance of storms to stay connected to important safety and response information. Consider purchasing portable chargers and make sure they are fully charged as well.
  • Maintain a plan to move family members – especially those with special needs – to a safe, alternative location in case an extended power outage occurs, or evacuation is required.

 

After the storm

  • Stay away from power lines that have fallen or are sagging. Consider all lines energized, as well as trees, limbs or anything in contact with lines.
  • If a power line falls across a car that you are 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.

For more tips on how to prepare for storm season, and how Duke Energy can help, please visit duke-energy.com/StormTips.

For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter (@DukeEnergy) and Facebook (Duke Energy). A checklist serves as a helpful guide, but it's critical before, during and after a storm to follow the instructions and warnings of emergency management officials in your area.

Outage reporting

Before the storm hits, customers should contact us to make sure their contact information is up to date and their communication preferences are noted, so they receive proactive outreach on the status on a power outage they may experience.

Customers who experience an outage during a storm can report it the following ways:

  • Visit duke-energy.com on a desktop computer or mobile device.
  • Use the Duke Energy mobile app – Download the Duke Energy App from a smartphone via Apple Store or Google Play.
  • Text OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply).
  • Call the automated outage-reporting system, at: 800.POWERON (800.769.3766).
  • Customer service specialists will be available to manage customer calls should the need arise, with additional corporate responders from across all Duke Energy jurisdictions available to assist as needed.

There is also an interactive outage map where customers can find up-to-date information on power outages, including the total number of outages systemwide and estimated times of restoration.

Strengthening the grid to reduce storm impacts

Duke Energy has made significant improvements in recent years to strengthen the grid to make it more resistant to outages from severe weather. Improvements include pole and line upgrades, placing outage-prone lines underground, managing trees and vegetation near power lines, and the addition of smart, self-healing technology that can automatically detect power outages and quickly reroute power to restore service faster.

During Hurricane Ian in September, self-healing technology helped to automatically restore more than 100,000 customer outages in the Carolinas, saving around 850,000 hours of total outage time, and helping crews in the field restore power faster. Over the next few years, Duke Energy expects to install enough self-healing technology on its main power distribution lines to serve most customers.

 

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