UPDATE: Power Fully Restored

According to the Progress Energy website Monday morning, they have restored power to all customers in Eastern Carolina.

Their website says Progress Energy restored power to 60,000 customers during the storm this weekend. Company repair crews and personnel came to North Carolina from other states to manage the storm response.

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Progress Energy says it restored service to more than 50,000 customers who lost power in their service area in North and South Carolina.

Thousands of Progress Energy customers around Eastern Carolina lost power Saturday. The company says it restored service to more than 50,000 customers who lost power. As of 5 p.m. Saturday, Progress Energy has about 10,800 customers without power. The largest remaining outage areas include 2,300 customers in Lenoir County and 500 customers in Craven County.

The main culprit in knocking out power has been ice weighing down trees and limbs and causing them to fall on power lines, according to a press release from Progress Energy. Winds and more precipitation could mean more power outages through Sunday morning. Progress Energy says power crews may be slowed down by hazardous driving conditions. The forecast cold temperatures overnight Saturday are expected to make driving difficult.

Lenoir County was one of the hardest hit areas of Eastern Carolina in terms of power outages. Progress Energy says 44 outages across Lenoir County turned out the lights for 5,210 customers at one point. Progress Energy anticipates all the power to be back on by midnight. However, some of the individual outages may be fixed sooner than that.

An outage in the Moss Hill area of Lenoir County at 5 p.m. knocked out power to 969 customers, according to the Progress Energy outage map. There is no estimate yet for when the lights might come back on.

One of the Lenoir County power outages earlier in the day involved 2,200 people, stretching from the west side of Kinston to Seven Springs, and south to Deep Run. Progress Energy says the outage occurred at 11:42 a.m.

Nearly 1,100 people lost power in another section of Lenoir County, stretching from Institute to Parrotts. The power went out there just before noon.

Another significant outage in the East was along the Lenoir/Craven County line, stretching from Southwood to east of Dover. The utility company says 956 people lost power there at 9 a.m.

About 620 customers lost power in the Mount Olive area around 5 p.m. Saturday. Progress Energy says power should be back on by 8:45 p.m.

Progress Energy says a cluster of five outages in and around Vanceboro in Craven County knocked out power to 521 customers at 9:49 a.m. Saturday.

An outage off Kilpatrick Rd. in Lenoir County put 427 customers without power. Progress Energy says the outage began at 12:50 p.m.

Tideland EMC reports fewer than 500 homes reported power issues as of 1:45 p.m. Saturday. The utility company describes the outages as "scattered," with the largest one affecting 157 homes in the Camp Hardee area of Beaufort County. All of the power has been restored.

“Fortunately, we’ve been very proactive in stepping up tree trimming and right-of-way activities in recent years and this is when you really reap the rewards of preventative maintenance,” said Tideland EMC spokesperson Heidi Jernigan Smith.

Tideland EMC says it expects more scattered power outages overnight if temperatures cause widespread freezing and subsequent tree damage. They recommend people experiencing long outages cut off most of the breakers in the house; it is easier for crews to re-energize and reheat lines when they are not overloaded.

Greenville Utilities says they received ten calls, all involving tree limbs falling on power lines to individual homes. Crews are responding. Three of the ten homes will require the work of an electrician, since the electric meter was pulled from the houses when the tree limbs came down.

Customers are asked to call GUC at 252-752-7166, 252-551-1567 or 252-752-5627 to report any emergencies. Crews are on alert, ready to respond as quickly as possible.

Rocky Mount Public Utilities advises customers to call 252-467-4800 with outages. That number has changed in the past year.

Greenville Utilities spent most of the day preparing for this weekend's winter weather.

Command center workers for GUC are manning the phones throughout the night to help customers if needed.

Director of Communications, Roger Jones says a secondary call center has been set up with 15 additional phones in order to handle calls about power outages.

In the field, crews are taking home their work trucks overnight in case of emergencies.

Eight additional crews have been added to the weekend staff.

According to Jones, there is one element that poses the biggest threat for power outages.

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