Local News

Power, Cable Companies Mobilize Crews In Advance of Winter Storm

Posted February 14, 2003

— North Carolina's power companies, as well as Time Warner Cable Company, have begun preparing for the winter storm predicted to hit the state on Saturday night by lining up extra personnel and equipment in the event they are needed.

"Our storm team has been monitoring weekend weather forecasts," said Jackie Joyner of Progress Energy, "and has made a decision to mobilize additional Progress Energy crews in advance of the approaching winter storm.

"We are preparing for the storm and will have crews in place on Saturday."

Duke Power was taking similar precautions.

"We are carefully monitoring this weather system and are prepared for potential effects to our service territory," said E.O. Ferrell, senior vice president of electric distribution for Duke Power.

"In addition to our Duke Power crews, we also have contacted contractors and other utilities outside of our service territory to ensure potential interruptions of electrical service are restored as safely and quickly as possible. Actions are underway to relocate Duke Power resources and off-system crews to areas anticipated to be affected by this winter storm."

Meanwhile, line crews from North Carolina's 27 electric cooperatives will spend much of Friday stocking up on supplies and equipment.

Electric co-op power restoration crews across the state are on standby to assist any co-op hit hard by the storm.

In Raleigh, the cooperatives' power supplier, the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, is preparing the statewide Cooperative Storm Center.

The Cooperative Storm Center tracks weather events, monitors outages throughout the state, assists in getting equipment and crews to cooperatives for power restoration, acts as the cooperatives' liaison to the state and serves as a communications center.

Time Warner Cable is adding additional Customer Service and technical staff to handle problems as they may occur.

Time Warner Cable has its emergency action plan in place and is ready to initiate it as needed.

Generators are fueled and ready to move to areas where needed. Service trucks are also ready to be dispatched in case of outages.

Supplies needed to restore downed cable lines are positioned, and all TWC personnel are prepared to work around the clock to restore service should there be outages.

TWC officials want subscribers to remember that, if they lose electricity, they likely will lose cable service, whether or not they have a generator. The cable system requires electricity to operate.

Customers who maintain power but experience a cable outage may contact Time Warner Cable at

1-866-4TWC-NOW

or at their

website,

which will be updated as needed.

The city of Raleigh also is getting ready for a winter blast. Raleigh has 40 trucks ready with salt spreaders and plows, and 1,700 tons of salt.

Street maintenance crews have been told to report to work at 6 p.m. Saturday and be prepared for 12-hour shifts. Contract drivers used by the city are also being notified.

During last December's ice storm, outages reached a peak of 185,000 customers, approximately 22 percent of the cooperative system.

Twelve cooperatives in the central corridor of the state east of Interstate 77 and west of Interstate 95 sustained severe damage that resulted in up to 80 percent or more of their customers losing power at the peak of the storm.

Despite difficult working conditions, icy roads and repeat outages caused by falling branches, 90 percent of those who lost power had their electricity restored in 72 hours.

The damage caused to the cooperative system in the December 2002 storm was approximately $18 million.

North Carolina's electric cooperatives serve 826,000 customers in 93 of the state's 100 counties.

Progress Energy serves more than 2.7 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.

After severe weather, Progress Energy's first priorities are transmission lines, high-voltage lines that deliver electricity from power plants to substations. Supported by tall metal or wooden structures, these lines cross fields, forests, mountains and even swamps.

Also vital are substations, which reduce the voltage of electricity so power can be delivered to houses and businesses.

After making their repairs, transmission and substation crews join line and service crews in repairing feeder, tap and service lines.

Once transmission lines and substations can again deliver power, Progress Energy assigns priority to lines that serve hospitals, police departments, emergency services and other facilities that are essential to public health and safety. Other restoration is prioritized by repairs that effect the largest number of customers.

Duke Power customers who need to report an outage are asked to call Duke Power's toll-free, automated outage reporting line:

1-800-POWERON (1-800-769-3766).

As outages are reported, Duke Power crews work from the affected substations and larger lines to begin service restoration.

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