Local News

Progress Being Made To Restore Power To Thousands Of N.C. Residents

Posted December 11, 2002 9:47 a.m. EST

— Utility officials say they are making progress in restoring power to thousands of North Carolina residents.

As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, CP&L officials said there are 15,225 statewide outages and 3,100 outages in Wake County.

Duke Power officials said they have 127,000 statewides outages with 21,700 outages in Durham County and 15,500 outages remaining in Chapel Hill.

Malik Walthour said he is too cold to talk. To stay warm, he has been under the covers for six days. The 13-year-old has changed the batteries in his Game Boy four times.

"He's ready to scream," said Carol Walthour, Malik's mother.

Carol Walthour lived in her home on Cecil Street in Durham for five years and never used the fireplace until last week. They had to drive all the way to Sanford to find wood.

"I've cried and prayed and I'm glad to have gotten this wood," she said.

The Walthours are some of the Durham residents who are burning mad at Duke Power.

"There's so much anger here, I could explode," she said. "They knew the storm was coming and didn't prepare for it. All of these people have to suffer."

Pete Trimarchi and his Durham neighbors said they are ready to get back to a normal routine. They are even willing to take their trash to the end of the road since trash crews cannot reach them due to downed power lines.

"Our trash pick up is supposed on Mondays, but I don't know if we are going to have to wait until next Monday with that or not," he said.

Duke Power officials said they hope to restore 90 percent of its customers back online by midnight Wednesday.

Duke Power officials also said that customers may end up footing the multimillion-dollar storm repair bill. Company officials said it has not ruled out charging customers.

However, Progress Energy officials said they will not let its customers pick up the tab. The biggest expense for the two companies will be from hiring thousands of extra linemen. They will also have to pay for lines, transformers, and other equipment damaged in the storm.

While many school systems in the Triangle are operating Tuesday on a two-hour delay or proceeding normally, Durham school officials said they kept schools closed. Due to the number of downed power lines, they said they were concerned for the safety of the students. They plan to operate on an one-hour delay Wednesday.

Chapel Hill/Carrboro schools, along with Franklin County and Granville County schools, will operate on a two-hour delay Wednesday.

Several school systems in the area have announced plans for make-up days.

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

Wake County traditional students will make up days missed on Feb. 17 and April 21. Officials have not announced makeup days for year-round students.

Traditional students at Durham schools will make up days on Feb. 17, March 14, March 17 and April 21. Year-round students in Durham will make up days on March 10, March 11, March 12 and April 21.

Orange County have not announced plans for make-up dates yet.

Phone and cable companies are also making some serious headway.

BellSouth officials said they should have everyone back on line by Wednesday. BellSouth and Sprint will give its customers billing credits for lost service as long as they ask for them. Verizon Communications officials said they have not decided what to do yet.

Time Warner Cable officials said 88 percent of customers have cable. Officials said they plan to automatically credit customers.