Local News

Power Companies Remember Fran, Too

Posted September 5, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— The morning after Fran, many Triangle residents awoke to the sound of chain saws. It became a vital part of one memory most of us will never forget -- the days we lived without electricity.

Everyone learned a lot from Hurricane Fran including area power companies. They learned lessons which should make a recovery faster and easier for everyone the next time disaster strikes.

During the storm and, for some, for days afterward, families huddled together listening to battery-powered radios by candlelight. Fran left almost a million people without power when she blew through. One of them was Mammie Potter of Raleigh.

The Potter's power was out for nine days -- longer than most. In fact, CP&L had power flowing to most homes within just a few days. How were they able to move so quickly? Spokesperson Bobby Simpson says they had a lot of help.

There were crews from 14 states. Many of them worked around the clock. The Raleigh utility nerve center helped determine where the crews were most needed. Simpson says that's where it all came together.

The system appeared to have worked well, but there was room for improvement. What did the power company learn?

And what have the customers learned? Potter says preparedness was the lasting lesson.

By the time the power company workers had finished 3,000 miles of new lines had been installed -- the equivalent of stringing powers lines from Raleigh to Denver and back.

Reporter:David Crabtree Photographer:Mark Copeland