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Restoration at about 90% of customers who lost power in storms; Crews continue to focus on 22,700 still without power across N.C.

RALEIGH, N.C. (April 18, 2011 – 4 p.m.) – Progress Energy Carolinas crews have restored service to about 90 percent of the customers who lost power in Saturday’s powerful tornadoes and storms. As of 4 p.m. today, more than 1,100 utility workers are continuing to focus on the remaining 22,700 customers still without power in severely damaged portions of central and eastern North Carolina.

Progress Energy expects to restore service to the virtually all customers whose homes are capable of receiving power by midnight Tuesday. In some particularly hard-hit areas restoration is expected to extend into Wednesday. Some homes and businesses sustained damage that left them incapable of receiving service.

As of 4 p.m. today, outage totals are as follows:

Wake County


Cumberland County


Johnston County


Sampson County


Harnett County


Outages are scattered in other counties.

Progress Energy has been responding around-the-clock since a series of tornadoes crashed through the Carolinas Saturday, leaving significant damage to power lines and utility infrastructure. At the peak, between 4 and 5 p.m. April 16, more than 220,000 Progress Energy customers were without power. Overall, more than 300,000 lost power at one time or another since Saturday afternoon. Due to the rolling nature of the storms, workers were restoring service in some areas even as storms were causing new outages in other locations.

In many areas, workers are having rebuild large sections of transmission and distribution infrastructure to replace equipment damaged or destroyed by the violent storms. Workers in some locations reported that tornadoes literally swept poles and wires away.

The storms toppled thousands of trees, more than 600 power poles and more than 30 high-voltage transmission line structures across the state, impeding power to a number of electric substations. The tornadoes left significant damage to 23 transmission lines.

Progress Energy has used helicopters, vehicles and employees on foot to assess damage to transmission lines, substations, distribution lines and other infrastructure.

In addition to the normal complement of about 600 company and contract workers in the central and eastern part of the state, Progress Energy has brought in crews from other parts of the company’s service area (once local restoration was complete), from neighboring states and from Duke Energy in the western region of North Carolina. The company also has several hundred employees working in support roles as planners, damage assessors, crew guides, customer service representatives, government liaisons and other functions.

Follow the restoration on social media

Progress Energy is also using social media to keep its customers informed during the restoration process. The company has placed pictures of damage to its transmission structures online at and is posting regular updates on Twitter and Facebook. To follow Progress Energy on Twitter, go to

Power line safety

  • Never go near downed power lines. Always assume they are energized and extremely dangerous. Never attempt to drive over a downed power line.
  • Power lines can often become entangled in limbs or hidden by debris. Use extreme caution when removing limbs or debris to ensure that no power lines are present.
  • Customers who see downed power lines should contact Progress Energy at 1.800.419.6356.
    Restoring service

After the post-storm damage assessment, the first repair priorities are transmission lines, high-voltage lines that deliver electricity from power plants to substations, equipment that reduces the voltage of electricity so power can be delivered to houses and businesses.

Once transmission and substation repairs are made, Progress Energy assigns priority to lines that serve hospitals, police departments, emergency services and other facilities that are essential to public health and safety. Other restoration is prioritized by repairs that affect the largest number of customers. For example, a repair serving 200 customers is completed before a repair serving five customers. This is the quickest way to restore power to the most customers.

Generator safety

Customers who use generators are reminded to always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions. Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. For more safety information on generator use, visit

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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