Executives from Duke Energy are asking for their customers’ patience as more than 7,000 utility crews work to restore power to approximately 430,000 people across the Carolinas.
At the height of the storm, 1.2 million Duke Energy customers were without power. In two days, power was restored to 825,000 people, and that number is continuing to increase.
For some people, the power cannot be restored fast enough. As of 6:30 p.m. Monday, more than 89,000 South Carolinians remained without power following Hurricane Matthew, and some of them might remain so until lateSunday evening. Each of the Pee Dee counties has an estimated restoration time of 11:45 p.m. Sunday.
Duke Energy Storm Director Bobby Simpson said that estimation is based on a number of factors, including the amount of damage done and if the damage is preventing utility crews from accessing certain areas. Flooded regions and washed out roadways can prevent utility crews from accessing certain places in need of power. Currently, more than 800 utility poles and miles worth of wire require repair.
“We have broken poles, we have thousands of spans of wire down, and the floodwaters on top of that,” Simpson said. “It’s going to take a week to deal with this thing and come back to normal.”
Duke Energy has doubled its original number of resources to combat the power outage problem, and within the next few days, more utility crews will pour into the Carolinas to help expedite the restoration process.
Duke Energy North Carolina President David Fountain said the company is working “as quickly and safely as possible to restore power” to all of their customers.
“We do anticipate having large blocks of customers restored well before the Sunday date,” Fountain said. “But that’s essentially our worst-case scenario. We’re hopeful that we’ll continue to make significant progress over the next 48 hours.”
Fountain compared Matthew to other major hurricanes from the past, including Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Hurricane Fran in 1996 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999. For the time being, Fountain urges Duke Energy customers to be patient during the outages and know that line crews are working around the clock to restore power.
“We’re working as diligently as we can,” Fountain said. “We really appreciate our customers’ patience throughout this.”
For more information on outages and estimated restoration times for Duke energy customers, visit duke-energy.com