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Memories of Fran Become Lessons for the Next Time

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RALEIGH — It cost Carolina Power and Light $100 million in manpower and equipment to fix everything broken by HurricaneFran, but the utility says it's better off going into this storm season than the last. The company, along with many area residents, says thelessons learned in 1996 have turned into policies in preparation andpractice for 1997.

It will be quite some time before the memory of Fran fadesfor North Carolinians. For Jerry Cooper, the memories are still vivid.

The race to restore power to area homes and businesses was a madone with crews working around the clock to get lights back on, freezershumming and gas stations pumping.

CP&L Engineering and Operations Manger Bobby Simpson says the companyis better prepared for disaster this year than last.In Garner and Aberdeen, for example, the utility has stockpiled tons ofequipment. Last year, he says, five years worth of supplies were used upvery quickly.

CP&L workers have now cut many tree limbs to prevent them from fallingon power lines. In addition, according to Simpson, the company has takensteps to ensure that utility crews like the ones which came to our aid inthe aftermath of Fran will be available more quickly next time.

That sounds good to Cooper who thinks /CP&L will be hardpressed to improve on their performance last year. He says the CP&L crewsdid a terrific job after Fran.

Photographer:Rick Armstrong

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