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Storms & Outages

Long before a storm or hurricane threatens, Duke Energy stands ready to respond. When the storm hits, our employees roll up their sleeves and go to work to restore power interrupted by the storm's fury.

Customers who lose power should contact Duke Energy. When the call is answered, the location of the outage is recorded automatically by Duke Energy's automated outage-reporting system. Customers can also speak directly to a company representative if they wish. Duke Energy brings in additional employees to respond to customer calls during major storms, and it has dramatically increased the number of incoming telephone lines for its outage-reporting system. But customers may experience busy signals and longer-than-normal waits during times of high call volumes.

Here are a few tips to follow for your safety:

  • If someone in your home is dependent on medical equipment requiring electricity, make arrangements in advance for an alternative power source for emergencies.
  • If rising water threatens your home, turn off the power at the circuit breaker panel or fuse box before water enters your home. Have an electrician inspect your system before turning the power back on after flooding.
  • Never replace a fuse or touch a circuit breaker with wet hands, or while standing on a wet or damp surface.
  • If you see a downed power line, call Duke Energy to report its location.
  • Avoid driving over downed power lines. Avoid puddles near downed power lines.
  • Plug only individual appliances into portable generators. Never connect a generator to wall outlets, building wiring or your home's electrical system.
  • If you require transportation assistance during an evacuation, register in advance with the Civil Defense and Office of Emergency Management in your county.
  • To prepare for outages, it is wise to have plenty of fresh batteries for flashlights and radios.
  • If you have a gasoline-powered electric generator, use it in well-ventilated areas and only plug in individual appliances. Never connect a generator to a wall outlet of your home or building's electrical system since that can cause damage to your equipment and can be a life-threatening danger to your family, neighbors and repair crews. Be sure to have adequate fuel for your generator and manage consumption by running it for only a few hours at a time.
  • Prepare a list of essential items you would need in case you are evacuated from your home and have them readily available. Some of these items could include medications, insulin, contact lenses/supplies, extra eyeglasses and denture needs.
  • If your power goes out, wait at least five minutes before reporting it to your local Duke Energy office in order to give our automatic equipment time to restore power.
  • Listen to your local radio and TV stations for weather updates and information from Duke Energy.
  • View this helpful storm checklist.

Carolinas winter weather

Some parts of our Carolinas service territory experience wintry weather, in the form of freezing rain, ice, and snow. Significant accumulations of snow and ice can cause power outages. Duke Energy constantly monitors the weather, using specialized forecasts developed for its service area by the meteorologists under contract with the company. But snow and ice storms can strike with only hours of warning and are difficult to predict.

Both snow and ice cause power outages primarily by weighing down tree limbs and power lines, causing them to break. Ice creates particular challenges because it is heavier and more prone to accumulate on limbs and lines. Accumulations of one-quarter inch or more can cause limbs to lean or break and fall into power lines. Accumulations of one-half inch or more can cause lines themselves to fall. Duke Energy actively trims tree limbs in rights-of-way along its power lines in an effort to minimize storm-related outages. But it cannot remove all limbs that could strike lines in a storm. Trees well outside of the right-of-way can cause outages.

Duke Energy's Carolinas service territory is particularly prone to freezing rain, the primary cause of winter weather-related outages in the region. Freezing rain is rain that becomes supercooled and freezes on impact with surfaces. It typically occurs on the cold side of a warm front, when ground temperatures are right at or just below 32 degrees.

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