Duke Energy responds to power outage ‘blinks’ experienced by Clover residents

The random blinks have lasted anywhere from 20 seconds to 10 minutes long.
Most people expect a power outage during a storm or if a crash took down power lines, but these instances are random.
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 6:55 PM EDT
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CLOVER, S.C. (WBTV) - It is annoying whenever the power goes out. But in one area, the power is flickering—going off for 20 seconds, and sometimes even as long as 10 minutes, before coming back on.

This has been happening for two months now and all the people WBTV talked to tell us no one has told them why.

Most people expect a power outage during a storm or if a crash took down power lines, but these instances are random. And they are costing people hundreds of dollars in busted and fried electronics.

Jessica Loggins resets her oven clock to the correct time every time this happens. It has almost become a ritual in her house.

”This happens so much, I can’t remember all the times,” she says.

Loggins lives in one of the homes affected by the constant power outages or blinks, that have been happening from Lake Wylie down to York. This is a town-wide problem.

”I asked my husband, I said ‘is this not weird to you that the power keeps going out?’ Then I seen on Facebook that people were asking the same question,” Loggins says.

One of those people talking on Facebook is Kristine Guy.

”Half of my house lost power,” Guys says. “About two, three minutes later. The other half lost power. Couple seconds after that it all came back on.”

Guy and Loggins consider themselves lucky. While this has been more than an annoyance, they have had friends lose expensive appliances and electronics to the blinks. Loggins says she knows several people who have lost computers and more.

”A lady lost her cell phone during it yesterday,” she says. “One day it’s gonna happen when my phone is plugged in, and I can’t afford a new phone. And we don’t get any notification from Duke Energy when it happens.”

Related: Electric Feeling: WBTV Investigation helps reimburse homeowners after power surge cost thousands

WBTV first reached out to York Electric Cooperative (YEC). The company sent out a Facebook post on Wednesday about this:

Many #YEC members in Western York County and the Lake Wylie area experienced a blink today. This momentary outage, along with several other recent blinks, have been because of issues with the Duke Energy transmission line serving these YEC substations.

We are diligently working with Duke Energy to determine the causes of these blinks and to mitigate any future issues. We understand these interruptions in service are frustrating to our members. Please know we are doing all we can to express the importance and urgency for which these problems should be resolved with Duke Energy.

We appreciate your continued patience and support as we work with Duke Energy to look out for you.

Porter Gable, the spokesperson for YEC, told WBTV that YEC is member-owned. That means members who pay into the cooperative are also the owners. While YEC provides the power to residents, it does not “own” the power. It gets that power from Duke Energy.

Gable says Duke Energy told them the blinks are due to transmission line problems. They have been happening since May, and affects seven of the company’s 27 substations. The blinks, according to their data, last two to three seconds on average.

Based on more data, the company says up to 16,000 members are affected at one time.

Gable says they are working with Duke Energy and stressing that these interruptions need to get done so their members can have the best electrical experience.

“We are always looking out for our members,” Gable says.

Since the people affected were not getting answers, I reached out to Duke Energy to find out why these power blinks keep happening. A spokesperson sent me an email saying on at least four occasions there have been snakes in the equipment. He says animal mitigation was installed.

But there is a deeper issue.

In an initial email, the spokesperson also said there was a “mechanical issue.”

WBTV followed up by asking what the mechanical issue was and when it could possibly be resolved. The spokesperson emailed back saying it’s an issue with the regulators that manage voltage levels, but they do not really know why it’s happening or when it could be fixed.

In a statement, the spokesperson says “We have been making reliability improvements in Clover County this year to stay ahead of potential issues and reduce outages for our customers.”

”It’s a little beyond frustrating at this point. At this point somebody needs to fix something,” Guy says.

WBTV found out that Duke Energy rerouted customer power this afternoon—a fix they hope could help these blinks. WBTV also asked what reimbursement looked like for anyone who lost electronics because of these blinks. Duke Energy has a claim report link people can find here.

If you are having issues with getting reimbursed you can contact WBTV.

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