Local News

CP&L to Increase Phone Power for the Next Storm

Posted December 27, 1998

— If you stayed in the Triangle for the holidays, chances are you lost your power for some period of time. The situation was especially frustrating for people who say they could not get through on phone lines to report the outages.

Carolina Power and Lighthad 83,000 customers who lost power last week. The company geared up for the storm early, getting extra crews ready. This week, officials will be looking at how crews handled the storm, and how they can be better prepared the next time.

Ice, trees and power lines are a bad combination any time. But when an ice storm hits during the holidays, when many power company employees are on vacation, it can wreak havoc on a community.

CP&L had more than 1,100 workers on the roads trying to restore power last week -- 400 of those workers were CP&L workers from regions not affected by the storm.

CP&L officials say they started planning for the bad weather early -- a lesson learned from Hurricane Fran.

The biggest complaint from customers was that they could not get through on the phone to report outages.

"We always do a lessons learned after a major storm event like this and try to make improvements based on those lessons," says Buddy Cline, CP&L operations vice president. "We had several hundred people answering phones at our customer service center and we answered 15,000 calls per day."

CP&L does have an automated system where people can leave information about their power outage. But they will be looking at ways to increase the number of attendants available to take calls from customers during a storm.

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