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Hurricane Irene leaves 250,000 Progress Energy customers out as of 10 a.m.

Company’s crews already working in areas where winds have subsided

RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 27, 2011 – 10 a.m.) – Hurricane Irene continues to lash the North Carolina coast this morning, leaving damage and about 250,000 Progress Energy customers without power as of 10 a.m.

The storm made landfall in Carteret County this morning, as a strong category-1 hurricane. But due to its large size, Irene’s outer bands created power outages along the southern N.C. coast as early as Friday afternoon. Progress Energy crews responded to outages Friday night until worsening weather conditions made it unsafe to do so.

The company has amassed an army of more than 1,000 line workers, tree crews and support staff from five states – more than three times the normal complement of workers in the region – and crews are ready to conduct damage assessment and begin large-scale repairs as soon as weather conditions permit. In some areas, tropical storm-force winds are expected to linger through Saturday evening, hampering repair efforts. To ensure their safety, crews cannot work in winds of 39 mph or higher.

North Carolina counties with the largest numbers of outages as of 10 a.m. included New Hanover (58,000); Carteret (22,000); Onslow (19,000); Craven (16,000); Johnston (13,200); Wake (12,000); Lenoir (10,200); Pender (10,000); Columbus (9,000); Brunswick (8,300); Duplin (8,000); Sampson (7,000); Nash (6,600). Numerous other counties had scattered outages from the coast to the Triangle.

With the storm continuing to generate outages and system damage, Progress Energy expects the restoration to take several days in the hardest-hit areas. Once the company conducts an assessment after the storm’s exit, additional information on estimated restoration times will be provided.

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, to coordinate materials required for repairs, and to arrange meals and lodging for out-of-town workers, as well as other logistics.

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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