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Duke Energy Crews Restore Power Following Tropical Storm Eta

Nov. 16, 2020
More than 2800 repair workers were involved with restoration efforts.

As Tropical Storm Eta moved offshore over the Atlantic waters, Duke Energy crews assessed storm damage and restored power where conditions permitted. Heavy rain, strong winds, and storm surge resulted in outages in several areas. The storm brought downed trees and power lines, broken poles and other weather-related outages.

More than 2800 repair workers were involved with restoration efforts. Duke Energy crews from Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and the Carolinas traveled to the state to assist. This also included supplemental repair crews from other electric utility companies through the Southeastern Electric Exchange.

As of Nov. 12, 3 p.m., approximately 10,000 customers were without power. 110,000 outages had been restored. Duke Energy expected to have 95% of customers restored before Nov. 12 midnight. Restoration for those in hardest-hit areas was likely to extend to Nov. 13.

In addition to making repairs, Duke Energy crews surveyed the extent of damage to utility poles and power lines. Damage assessment is an important part of the power restoration process as it helps determine where the company will deploy its workers, equipment, and other resources. Duke Energy focuses on restoring power in a sequence that enables power restoration to public health and safety facilities and to the greatest number of customers as safely and quickly as possible.

"I want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding as our crews work to safely restore power as quickly as possible, while also adhering to COVID-19-related safe work practices," Jason Cutliffe, Duke Energy's Florida incident commander, had said after the storm. "We know this is a particularly difficult time for our customers to lose power, as many are working from home and attending school remotely because of the pandemic."

During non-pandemic times, restoring power after a storm can be difficult for utility repair crews as travel and work conditions can be affected by high winds, fallen trees, and flooding. Now, in addition to addressing those standard challenges, Duke Energy's detailed storm response plan incorporated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommendations for COVID-19 safe work practices and physical distancing measures to help keep customers and communities safe. The company requested customers to remain outside of marked work zones and refrain from approaching repair crews.

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