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Charleston Business

Duke Energy preparing for high winds in Carolinas on Sunday, Monday

Apr 10, 2020 05:40PM ● By David Dykes

By David Dykes

A strong weather event will push through South Carolina and North Carolina beginning Sunday afternoon and continuing into Monday, bringing with it high winds and a strong potential for power outages, Duke Energy officials said.

The Charlotte-based company said it is monitoring the storm's path and taking steps to prepare, while also continuing to adhere to coronavirus-related protective measures and social distancing guidelines in place for power line crews and tree crews, and other employees supporting the storm response effort.

"We know how important electricity is to customers at a time when so many are home all day, every day," said Duke Energy Carolinas storm director Jason Hollifield. "Add to that, this is an important holiday weekend and sacred time for many people. We will work to respond to power outages as quickly as they occur, recognizing we must also ensure the safety of our crews and the communities we serve through proper social distancing practices and other protective measures. We appreciate our customers' patience and support as we work to serve all of our customers in the Carolinas."

Important safety reminders

With high winds, come the threat of downed trees and, potentially, downed power lines, Duke officials said. The officials encourage customers to plan now for what they will do if they experience an extended power outage:

  • Customers should stay tuned to local news for the latest weather advisories, as well as state and local emergency management officials.
  • If you rely on electricity for medical needs, please consider now what actions you will take in the event of an extended power outage. With statewide "stay-at-home" orders in place, you may need to alter your emergency plans.
  • If you see a downed power line, always assume it is energized and stay away. Report downed lines to Duke Energy immediately. Click here for a video demonstration and to read more about safety around power lines.
  • Never bring a generator indoors. Generators should be operated only outdoors, and only in well-ventilated areas. Manufacturer instructions should be followed. 

Duke Energy protective measures

Duke officials said the company will work to restore any outages that occur from the storm as quickly and safely as possible. They also advised:

  • Avoiding approaching Duke Energy crews in the field or entering their work zone as they restore power. If you do need to speak with someone, be advised that employees will maintain at least six feet of separation.
  • Adhering to stay-at-home orders and help our crews avoid distraction by supporting social distancing guidelines as they work.
  • If it is necessary to leave home, customers should move over or slow down if they see utility crews or other first responders working along roads. It's not only the law, but also helps protect our crews who are working to help restore power to customers, Duke officials said.
  • Additionally, employees do not travel, climb or work when sustained winds reach 39 miles per hour. When the storm passes and wind speeds drop below 39 miles per hour making it safe for travel, crews will begin damage assessment and repairs, the officials said.

Tips for protecting refrigerated food during a power outage

Duke officials said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends:

  • Have appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. The freezer temperature should be at or below 0° F, and the refrigerator should be at or below 40° F.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
  • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.

The FDA offers additional tips for proper food handling and storage before, during and after a power outage –

Outage reporting

Customers who experience an outage during the storm can report it by:

  • Texting OUT to 57801 (standard text and data charges may apply)
  • Calling the automated outage-reporting system at 800-769-3766 for Duke Energy Carolinas customers and 800-419-6356 for Duke Energy Progress customers.

For storm or power restoration updates, follow Duke Energy on Twitter and Facebook.