Progress Energy Update:
A strong Tropical Storm Hanna came ashore at 3:20 a.m., bringing high winds and heavy rains to much of Progress Energy Carolinas’ service area, and the company has deployed hundreds of company and contract workers to restore service as quickly and safely as possible.
As of 8 a.m., about 55,000 customers were without power. Most of those customers are in coastal areas and in the coastal plain east of Interstate 95. Crews are also working to restore service in the Triangle and surrounding areas, as well as the Sandhills. About 1,000 customers in South Carolina were also without power.
Since the storm is still moving through the service area, the number of outages is expected to rise over the next several hours. Progress Energy will provide updates every four hours through the day. The next update is scheduled for noon.
Progress Energy has supplemented the normal complement of 300 line & service and tree crews in Eastern North Carolina with more than 100 additional line and tree personnel and scores of additional damage assessors and support staff. Additional crews are scheduled to move east, if needed, once outages in the Triangle and Sandhills are cleared.
The company is conducting damage assessment across a large area this morning, and expects to have additional information on outage restoration later today.
“Our crews are in the field, making good progress on the outages already reported,” said Hershell McCarty, Progress Energy Carolinas’ system storm coordinator. “We know any outage is unwelcome for our customers and we’re working to restore service as quickly and safely as possible. In some areas we expect storm restoration to be completed fairly quickly, but where there is more substantial damage, the restoration will take longer.”
The company's storm plan includes mobilizing employees to handle increased customer calls, to quickly evaluate storm damage, to coordinate line crew and equipment mobilization, to coordinate materials required for repairs, and to arrange meals and lodging for out-of-town workers.
Progress Energy works to minimize storm impacts year-round through preventive maintenance, including trimming of trees around the company’s 6,000 miles of transmission lines and 60,000 miles of electric distribution lines. Wind-blown trees and limbs are the leading cause of power outages during storms.
Customers and media can find outage information on Progress Energy's Web site at www.progress-energy.com/outagemap. During major events such as storms, the map will be updated several times a day.
The quickest way to report an outage during a storm is to call the automated outage-reporting system at 1-800-419-6356. For the latest information, visit Progress Energy's storm site online at www.progress
Progress Energy, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 250 energy company with more than 21,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $9 billion in annual revenues. The company will observe a century of operation in 2008. Progress Energy includes two major utilities that serve 3.1 million customers in the Carolinas and Florida. Progress Energy is the 2006 recipient of the Edison Electric Institute's Edison Award, the industry's highest honor, in recognition of its operational excellence. The company also is the first utility to receive the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates Founder's Award for customer service. Progress Energy serves two fast-growing areas of the country, and the company is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system.
For more information about Progress Energy, visit the company’s Web site at www.progress-energy.com.
Four County EMC Update:
Four County Electric Membership Corporation is reporting approximately 3,200 customers without power due to the effects of Tropical Storm Hannah. These outages are scattered, and are heaviest in Bladen, and Pender Counties.
Four County EMC linemen, contractors and other electric cooperative personnel are currently in the field restoring service to members as uickly as possible. Please report outages to 1-888-368-7289.
People should treat power lines lying on the ground as if they are energized. Also, people should stay away from trees or branches that are touching power lines. Trees touching power lines can act as conductors and deliver an electric shock, causing injury to those who come in contact. If you see a downed line, call your electric utility or 911.
Thousands of Progress Energy customers were without power at 8 a.m. Saturday, courtesy of Tropical Storm Hanna.
The highest amount of outages was in Wayne County, where approximately 5,800 customers started their day in the dark.
Lenoir County also had a very high number of customers without power; 3,900 people lost power during the storm.
Carteret County had 1,200 Progress Energy customers whiteout power at 8 a.m. Saturday. Craven County reported 1,400. The Carteret-Craven Co-op, which serves 40,000 accounts in Carteret, Craven, Jones and Onslow counties, reported 400 outages across Craven and Carteret County during the overnight. There were no widespread outages reported by Carteret-Craven Co-op.
Progress Energy reported 600 customers without power in Onslow County at 8 a.m. That's less than half the amount who were without power earlier in the day.
Pamlico County had 1,300 customers of Progress Energy waking up in the dark.
Further north, Nash County had 550 customers without power, and Wilson County had 820. Those numbers were expected to increase as Progress Energy issues updates.
Progress Energy officials say crews will follow behind Tropical Storm Hanna and begin restoring power. Once winds drop below 45 miles per hour, it is safe for the workers to go up in bucket trucks, officials say.
The bulk of the outages is in the Wilmington area. Progress Energy spokesman, Scott Sutton, said 5,000 customers have lost power in New Hanover County. In Brunswick County, the figure is 1,800.
Sutton expects more people will lose power as Tropical Storm Hanna rushes through Eastern Carolina Saturday morning. He also expects more people will report outages as they wake up to find they have no electricity.
One of the largest power outages in Eastern Carolina is near Sharpsburg in Nash County. Progress Energy says 350 people lost power there at 2 a.m. Saturday. The energy company says crews are assessing the damage. They have not announced a time when they think the power will be back on yet.
The power went out just north of Beaufort in Carteret County at 12:46 a.m. Saturday, according to Progress Energy's website. The number of customers without power there was 233. Progress Energy says power has been restored as of 4:25 a.m.
A smaller outage in Carteret County is in the Mitchell Village area, just west of Morehead City. Progress Energy says just three customers lost power there at 1:42 a.m. Saturday. They are assessing the damage and have not said when they expect that power to be back online.
In Onslow County, a community just northeast of Jacksonville lost power at 3 a.m. Saturday. 108 customers are affected in the area near Pumpkin Center. As in Mitchell Village, Progress Energy is assessing the damage and has not said when to expect power there again.
There are scattered power outages in Duplin County. The power went out at 1:45 a.m. Saturday for 19 customers. A small outage was also reported near Penderlea.
A community just west of Rocky Point in Pender County lost power at
12:33 a.m. Saturday. The number of customers affected there is 36.