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Press Release

08/30/2011

Progress Energy aiming for 96% restoration by midnight tonight, 99% Thursday

Monday’s strong thunderstorms hampered effort in coastal and central N.C.

RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 30, 2011 – 9 a.m.) – Progress Energy and crews from five states continue to work – pole by pole, tree by tree – to restore service to customers in coastal and inland counties who lost power during Hurricane Irene. They expect to complete restoration to 96 percent of the customers who were without power at the peak of the storm Saturday afternoon.

On Monday night, a string of powerful thunderstorms blasted through the region, creating thousands of additional outages and leaving damage. Strong winds and lightning continued for several hours in the affected areas, further impeding the crews’ efforts to restore service.

As of 9 a.m. today, about 47,000 customers remain without power. That’s down from the peak of 280,000 customers out as the storm pummeled coastal and inland areas Saturday afternoon. All told, more than 440,000 customers were without power at one time or another from Hurricane Irene. The storm moved into Progress Energy’s southern service area with winds and rain in the early afternoon Friday, Aug. 26, and did not exit the northern coastal area until Saturday night.

Progress Energy aims to complete 99 percent restoration by midnight Wednesday and restore service to all homes and businesses capable of receiving power by midnight Thursday. Progress slows as the restoration effort continues due to the nature of remaining outages. This morning, there were still more than 1,900 separate equipment outages. In remote areas with extensive damage and flooding, crews often must spend several hours repairing many spans of line and poles to get one or two customers back in service.

Crews have restored service to all high-voltage transmission lines and transmission substations that were damaged by Irene. They also have completed restoration of equipment that serves as points of delivery to wholesale customers, including municipally owned utilities and electric membership cooperatives in eastern North Carolina.

Damage assessment was impeded by Irene’s strong winds, which continued into Saturday night in coastal areas and the coastal plain. Restoration efforts have been further hampered by severe flooding in many areas, and by the number of trees on power lines. In many remote and low-lying areas, crews have used helicopters, boats and tracked vehicles to assess and access damage.

After major storms, Progress Energy focuses on getting the largest facilities back in service first. That allows for the largest number of customers to be returned to service the fastest.

Hurricane Irene made landfall Saturday morning near Morehead City as a strong category-1 storm. The storm pounded the area with strong winds and heavy rains for several hours before moving north. The storm also jogged to the west before its exit, bringing strong, sustained winds to the coastal plain, including the Goldsboro area, Nash County and the eastern Triangle. Due to the size and path of Hurricane Irene, Progress Energy crews were restoring service in parts of the Carolinas even as Irene was creating new damage.

Counties with the largest numbers of remaining outages as of 9 a.m. today:

County

Customers

Craven

10,800

Lenoir

7,800

Onslow

5,400

Wayne

4,400

Pamlico

3,200

Beaufort

3,100

Nash

2,900

Carteret

2,700

Pitt

1,800

Greene

1,400


Numerous other counties in eastern North Carolina have fewer than 1,000 customers remaining out of service.

Following major storms, Progress Energy completes a comprehensive damage assessment, which allows the company to dispatch crews and equipment most efficiently. Doing the thorough assessment also enables the company to provide customers with the most accurate information about damage and restoration times.
We focus initially on restoring service to major facilities, such as power plants and transmission lines, and then work on distribution feeder lines, then smaller power lines and, ultimately, individual service. This helps ensure that we get the largest number of customers back in service the fastest.

Customers who have not yet reported their power out should do so by calling 1-800-419-6356. Our automated outage-reporting system is capable of handling 120,000 calls per hour. Customers who have already registered their account can also report outages by smart phone on our newly launched mobile website at m.progress-energy.com.

Progress Energy asks customers to be safe on roadways and to give a wide berth to utility crews working to restore service. It’s not just a good idea; it’s the law.

Report any downed power lines to Progress Energy at 1-800-419-6356. Don’t go near downed power lines, and keep children and pets away, too. Always assume a power line is energized and dangerous.

New tools to track outages and restoration

Customers and media can find outage information on Progress Energy's website 24 hours a day at www.progress-energy.com/outagemap. 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 www.twitter.com/progressenergy and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProgressEnergyCarolinas

For more storm and safety information, visit Progress Energy's storm site at www.progress-energy.com/storm.

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 www.progress-energy.com.

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Contact: Corporate Communications 24-Hour Media Line 877.641.NEWS (6397)
Follow Progress Energy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/progressenergy.

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