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Hurricane Irene finally moves on, leaves behind significant power outages

Company’s crews making progress in areas where winds have subsided

RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 27, 2011 – 8 p.m.) – Hurricane Irene is finally beginning to exit North Carolina this evening after a full day of heavy rain and severe winds. Hurricane Irene’s large size and slow movement have created significant power outages across central and eastern N.C.

The company anticipates 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 its customers.

As of 8 p.m., about 206,000 Progress Energy customers are without power. This is down from a peak of more than 279,700 at 2 p.m. North Carolina counties with the largest numbers of outages as of 8 p.m. included Carteret (24,000); New Hanover (23,000); Wayne (22,600); Craven (18,000); Onslow (16,000); Nash (16,000); Wake (12,500); and Lenoir (11,000). Numerous other counties had scattered outages from the coast to the Triangle.

Progress Energy crews will use helicopters, boats and all-terrain vehicles to assess major damage to transmission lines, substations and other infrastructure. Where possible, Progress Energy will be conducting repairs while the damage assessment is being completed. The company has more than 1000 line workers and tree crews ready to restore power in North Carolina.

The first repair priorities are transmission lines, high-voltage lines that deliver electricity from power plants to substations. From substations, electricity is delivered to communities by feeder and tap lines. Individuals receive power from service lines that branch off tap or feeder lines. After making repairs to the large transmission lines, transmission and substation crews join line and service crews in repairing tap and service lines.

Progress Energy encourages customers to ensure household safety and to call Progress Energy to report power outages at 1-800-419-6356. The company’s automated outage-reporting system can handle up to 120,000 calls per hour. The company’s website,, provides detailed information and recommendations for reporting outages and staying abreast of developments.

The company's storm plan includes mobilizing employees to handle increased customer calls, to quickly evaluate storm damage, to coordinate line crew and equipment mobilization and to coordinate materials required for repairs.

New tools to track outages and restoration
Customers and media can find outage information on Progress Energy's website 24 hours a day at The map is being updated at regular intervals throughout the day. 

Progress Energy is also using social media channels to keep customers informed throughout the storm restoration process. The company will post regular updates on Twitter at and Facebook at

Be safe after the storm

  • Never go near downed power lines. Always assume they are energized and extremely dangerous. If someone suffers an electric shock, call 911 or your local rescue squad immediately. Even minor shocks may cause serious health problems later.
  • Check for electrical damage inside your home, such as frayed wires, sparks or the smell of burning insulation. If you find damage, don’t turn your power on until an electrician inspects your system and makes necessary repairs.
  • Walk and drive cautiously. Watch out for debris-filled streets and weakened bridges.
  • Snakes and insects can be a problem after storms.
  • Use your emergency water supply or boil water before drinking it until local officials deem the water supply safe. Report broken sewer or water mains.
  • Make temporary repairs to protect property from further damage or looting. Beware of unscrupulous contractors.

If the power goes out

  • Do not connect a generator directly to your home’s electrical system. It is dangerous to you, your neighbors and utility workers. Follow manufacturer’s directions regarding connecting appliances directly to your generator.
  • In any power outage, utility crews restore service as quickly as possible, starting with the largest lines and facilities serving the most people.

For more storm and safety information, visit Progress Energy's storm site at

Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 500 energy company with more than 22,000 megawatts of generation capacity and approximately $10 billion in annual revenues. Progress Energy includes two major electric utilities that serve about 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. The company has earned the Edison Electric Institute's Edison Award, the industry's highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence, and was the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder's Award for customer service. The company is pursuing a balanced strategy for a secure energy future, which includes aggressive energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. Progress Energy celebrated a century of service in 2008. Visit the company’s website at
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Contact: Corporate Communications 24-Hour Media Line 877.641.NEWS (6397)
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