News Release
Dec. 11, 2002

STORM RESTORATION EFFORT AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Midnight came early today.

 

Duke Power had predicted it would restore 90 percent of customer outages systemwide by midnight tonight. That goal, in fact 91 percent, was achieved this morning.

 

“It is heartening to be able to mark ‘clear’ next to an area that only a few days ago had tens of thousands of customers without power,” said E.O. Ferrell, senior vice president of electric distribution for Duke Power. “The linemen working 16-hour shifts in all kinds of weather should be proud of this accomplishment. We are literally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.”

 

Ferrell also thanks customers for their patience. “We’re at a point where it takes twice as much work to restore half as many customers,” Ferrell added.

 

Duke Power officials expect to achieve 100 percent restoration by midnight Saturday.

 

Tuesday’s inclement weather failed to slow the restoration effort. Places like Hendersonville, Winston-Salem and Rutherfordton in North Carolina, and Anderson, Clemson, Greenwood and   others in South Carolina have been cleared.

 

“Remember, some customers who receive power may lose it temporarily because crews are testing a line or possibly restoring service to additional customers,” Ferrell said. “The numbers will continue to fluctuate as restoration work progresses.”

 

There are still approximately 127,000 Duke Power customers without power. Most are in Charlotte, where 33,000 customers are awaiting restoration. Other North Carolina service areas with customers needing restorations include Burlington, 6,900 outages; 15,500 in Chapel Hill; 21,700 outages in Durham; 4,200 in Gastonia; 16,200 in Greensboro; 9,600 in High Point; 2,000 in Kannapolis and 11,500 in Salisbury.

 

In South Carolina, where less than 2,200 outages remain, Spartanburg has approximately 1,600 customers without power.

 

The more than 1.3 million outages from the December 5 ice storm are almost twice the number of outages from previous benchmarks: The ice storm of February 1996 affected 660,000 customers, and just under 700,000 customers were out of service during Hurricane Hugo in 1989. In the 1996 ice storm, it took 10 days to restore the 660,000 customers who lost power. In this ice storm, Duke Power crews matched that restoration number in only three days.

 

Reminders:

Outage numbers will fluctuate as crews test lines or disconnect power so additional customers can be restored.

 

If you are without power, be sure to turn off your furnace and other electric appliances so they won’t be damaged when power is restored.

 

Customers are cautioned to make sure their meter box has not been damaged. If the meter box is damaged or pulled away from the building, customers need to contact a licensed electrician for repairs and their local county inspection office for an inspection.   

 

If your power remains off when a neighbor’s power is back on, the company advises you to call 1-800-POWERON (1/800-769-3766).

 

The line offers options for Spanish speaking customers. (Si su casa sigue sin servicio eléctrico y sus vecinos ya tienen electricidad, favor de llamar al teléfono de Duke Power, 1-800-POWERON (1-800-943-6914). Nuestras operadoras pueden atenderle en español.)

 

YOU CAN CALL OUR MEDIA OUTAGE LINE AT 704/382-8333 OPTION 1 FOR UPDATES. THIS OPTION WILL ALSO ALLOW YOU TO REACH A REPRESENTATIVE FOR INTERVIEW.

 

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to approximately two million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,300 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: www.dukepower.com.

 

Duke Energy is a diversified multinational energy company with an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. The company manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses – meeting the energy needs of customers throughout North America and in key markets around the world. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

Contact: Media Relations - Joint Information Center
Phone: (704) 382-8333
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