Thousands of Duke Energy customers without power in WNC

(file photo | Associated Press)

(FOX Carolina) - Tropical Depression Florence has knocked out power across the Carolinas, but one utility provider says they've managed to restore power to many customers affected by outages.

Duke Energy reports more than 1 million customers have seen power restored as of 5 p.m. Saturday out of approximately 1.4 million total outages across North and South Carolina.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, the utility provider says about 404,000 customers still don't have power, and that more outages should be expected.

Of the customers still without power, 381,000 are in North Carolina and 23,000 in South Carolina.

Previously, incident commander Howard Fowler says crews are making major headway in the wake of Florence.

“Our crews during the past 24 hours have made significant progress restoring power in areas of the Carolinas where it is safe to do,” said Fowler. "However, we unfortunately have been unable to make repairs in some of the hardest-hit coastal areas due to continuing high winds and road access problems caused by major flooding."

Fowler says more than 20,000 personnel are staged at 39 locations across the Carolinas, which the company claims is the largest storm response ever they've assembled.

However, crews are hampered by severe flooding, road closures, wind gusts, and storm debris in coastal and other areas of the Carolinas. Some areas in cities like Wilmington and New Bern, N.C. are impossible to access because of widespread flooding.

In 12 of North Carolina's hardest-hit counties, more than 75 percent of Duke customers have lost power. Those counties include Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Pitt, and Robeson.

Duke Energy customers can report outages at this website. Duke Energy Carolinas customers can also report by calling (800) 769-3766, while Duke Energy Progress customers should call (800) 419-6356.

For the latest outage numbers, you can check this website.

Duke Energy also reminds customers to practice the following storm safety measures:

  • Stay away from fallen and sagging power lines. Keep children, pets and others away from power lines.
  • Consider all power lines – as well as trees, branches and anything else in contact with power lines – energized and dangerous.
  • Use extreme caution when traversing damaged and flooded areas. Energized power lines could be hidden by debris and standing water.

Further, Duke Energy is also tracking lake levels at this link and can be listened to by calling (800) 829-5253 for Duke Energy Carolinas customers or (800) 899-4435 for Duke Energy Progress customers.

Copyright 2018 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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