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Bonnie Leaves Thousands Without Power from the Coast to the Triangle

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RALEIGH — Hundreds of thousands of North Carolina households remain without power thanks to Hurricane Bonnie.

As of noon Friday, Carolina Power and Light reported about 58,000 customers in North Carolina are without power. Most of those outages are in Wilmington, Whiteville, New Bern and Morehead City. The company hopes to have power restore to the hardest hit areas by Sunday night.

There are thousands of other people in our area served byelectric cooperatives. By Friday, restoration efforts have reduced outages to 9,000 customers. At its peak, 139,500 customers served by the cooperatives were without power.

BellSouth reports several hundred people in the area are without phone service in the Triangle.

As Hurricane Bonnie battered the coast,CP&Lemployees staffing the company's storm center waited to mobilize hundreds of workers. Restoration efforts were frustrated because Bonnie had stalled along the coast Wednesday and early Thursday.

"When the storm was expected to be further on inland and moving on out, [that] would have enabled us to have had crews working at this point in time," said CP&L's Bill England on Wednesday afternoon.

In all, CP&L has called in over 3,700 power line and tree removal workers, from five states. Repairs could take some time because of flooding in many areas.

CP&L and the N.C. Electric Cooperative offer the followingsafety advice:
  • Stay away from all downed or low-hanging power lines -- whether they spark or not. The line may still be energized and can be extremely dangerous. Keep children and pets away.
  • If you see downed lines and the ground is wet or has standing water, do not go outside.
  • If your power is out, disconnect appliances. Leave a porch light on so power crews will know if power has been restored.
  • If a residence or business has been flooded, trip the circuit breaker even if power has been interrupted. This is to prevent further damage to your electrical system when power is restored.
  • A generator should not be connected to a breaker or or main circuit panel, but if it already is, it's important the user turn off or disconnect the main breaker. Otherwise electricity will flow back into power lines creating a potentially lethal safety hazard and delaying repairs.
  • If you are using a generator, watch for repair crews and turn the generator off when crews are in the area.CP&L asks that you report outages and downed lines by calling1-800-419-6356.
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