CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Duke Energy projects nearly 1 million people will lose power in the Carolinas due to the looming winter storm.
The hazardous wintry precipitation and high-winds from the approaching winter storm would be the cause of the nearly 1 million power outages - some lasting several days - beginning Thursday in North Carolina and South Carolina, based on the storm’s current forecasted track.
The company says customers in the storm’s path should prepare for multi-day power outages.
Duke Energy officials say they have thousands of employees supporting the company’s response, including 5,400 line technicians and vegetation workers. More than 1,300 of those workers are from the company’s Midwest and Florida service areas and from other companies providing assistance.
Austin Glissom, a tree service employee, told WBTV he traveled from Ocala, Florida to do storm response work.
“Whenever you sign up for this job, this is what comes with it, protecting people and getting their power back on,” said Glissom. “Could be fun, could be dangerous, but we’re just gonna try to keep our heads on, get some rest while we can and tackle it in the morning.”
The storm comes on the heels of last weekend’s winter storm which caused significant outages in the northern part of North Carolina, as well as the Triad and Triangle areas of the state.
Duke Energy meteorologists continue to monitor weather conditions and the company is making plans accordingly. Line technicians, service crews and other personnel throughout Duke Energy’s service area are prepared to respond as outages and emergencies occur.
“When we see icing that’s greater than a quarter-inch, that’s when we can see trees and downed lines occur and outages happen for customers,” explained Meghan Miles, a spokesperson for Duke Energy.
As part of the company’s preparation, workers are checking equipment, supplies and inventories to ensure workers have adequate materials to make repairs and restore power outages.
Duke Energy has completed aerial inspections of its transmission lines in the communities expected to be hit hardest, and found no immediate threats. The company has an adequate supply of electricity to meet energy demands; outages related to power generation are not expected.
Weather and travel conditions might be hazardous and challenging following the storm’s impact, and could delay Duke Energy workers’ ability to access areas to fully assess storm damage and restore electric service.
Following the storm, crews will first assess the extent of damage – which can sometimes take 24 hours or more – to determine which crews, equipment and supplies are needed. Damage assessments occur while other workers simultaneously restore power in some areas. Estimated times of restoration will be provided when damage assessments are completed.
The company will provide regular updates to its customers and communities via email, text messages, outbound phone calls, social media and its website.