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Number Of Outages Continue To Decrease As Crews Work To Restore Power

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RALEIGH, N.C. — There is "light" at the tunnel for many North Carolina residents as power is being restored to many parts of the state.

As of 12 p.m. Tuesday, CP&L officials said there are 35,000 outages in the northern region, which includes parts of the Triangle and 9,000 outages in Wake County.

Duke Power officials say they have 48,200 outages in Durham County and 16,900 outages remaining in Orange County. Officials estimate 90 percent of Duke Power's customers will have power by Wednesday evening.

As crews work to restore power to thousands of North Carolina residents, Gov. Mike Easley said Monday he plans to ask the White House for assistance.

Easley said he is asking President George Bush for federal disaster aid to help recover costs associated with cleanup and recovery after last week's ice storm.

Easley signed the four-page request Monday afternoon.

Bryan Beatty, the state secretary for crime control and public safety, said the federal government would probably pay for 75 percent of the cost of the storm's cleanup.

Meanwhile, many school systems have made plans for Tuesday.

All Wake County public schools will operate on their regular schedules on Tuesday.

Orange County and Vance County schools will operate on a two-hour delay Tuesday, except Dabney Elementary and W. Vance Secondary School, which will be closed due to a lack of power.

Durham public schools will be closed on Tuesday.

Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools have announced make-up dates for students: January 21, March 14 and March 28.

Wake County students will make up days missed on Feb. 17 and April 21.

An army of workers is involved in Duke Power's restoration efforts.

Officials say 4,300 crews from 15 states are tackling both North Carolina and South Carolina. Officials say their center's automated response system has received more than one million calls.

Approximately 284 miles of wire have been used to make repairs, in addition to 583 transformers and 175 utility poles.

In the 1996 ice storm, it took 10 days for Duke Power to restore power to 660,000 customers. In this most recent storm, officials say they exceeded that number after only three days.

Thousands of people across the state say they just want their electricity, along with some answers.

About 150 residents living at the Bingham Woods Mobile home park in Orange County have been without power since Wednesday night. Kathy and William Klein run the park, and they said they want some answers. They have been using a generator and fireplace to keep from freezing.

The Kleins said they have called Duke Power at least four times to complain, and they are still waiting for a response.

"What we want to know is where are all the Duke Power trucks? Kathy said.

Durham's mayor also also questioned Duke Power's response. Mayor Bill Bell says many frustrated residents have complained that crews were not out repairing lines as soon as the storm ended.

Bell said he wants an independent assessment done after everyone gets power again.

As people continue to live without power or heat, many are taking advantage of


across the Triangle.

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said recovery costs for equipment, overtime and contractors could top $2 million. He said the money would come from the city's reserve or by postponing some capital improvement projects.

According to authorities, more than 800 tons of salt were used, and 1,000 miles of city streets were cleared.

Estimates have last week's storm producing between 100,000 and 300,000 cubic yards of debris. That compares to 55,000 cubic yards of debris from Hurricane Floyd and 2,000,000 cubic yards of debris from Hurricane Fran.

Time Warner Cable officials say 65,000 customers still are without cable service. They hope to have service restored in those areas within the next two or three days.


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