Congressman David Rouzer, Duke Energy talk hurricane preparedness in Wilmington

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Congressman David Rouzer (R - NC 7), right, stands with a Duke Energy lineman in a bucket used by workers to reach utility lines. Photo by Hannah Leyva.
Congressman David Rouzer (R – NC 7), right, stands with a Duke Energy lineman in a bucket used by workers to reach utility lines. Photo by Hannah Leyva.

WILMINGTON – As we get into the heart of hurricane season, preparations are beefing up around the area.

Congressman David Rouzer (R – NC 7) was in town Thursday to talk about storm preparedness and learn about power distribution with local representatives from Duke Energy.

“We’re in the middle of hurricane season,” Rouzer said. “September and October can be extremely problematic sometimes for us here on the coast as it relates to hurricanes coming through.”

Rouzer watched Duke lineman take down an old capacitor from a telephone pole on Hooker Road off Wrightsville Avenue. The work, according to construction and maintenance specialist Adam Starr, is part of Duke’s “grid modernization” process, something that factors into storm preparedness.

“It is kind of an ongoing process with addressing maintenance needs as they arise,” said Starr, who works for Duke in the Wilmington area. “A lot of times you don’t realize there’s a need until it presents itself, and you just handle it as it comes up. You also make sure you stay staffed, and, particularly this time of the year, make sure all your equipment is in good working order and you don’t have any surprises there.”

Following a storm, Starr said workers are sent out to respond to downed lines or power outages as soon as possible. If major, widespread damage occurs, other crews would have to be brought in from elsewhere, usually within a day of the event occurring.

Rouzer, who said he had never visited a work site with an energy company before, was impressed with what he saw.

“They do a very, very good job.They have great professionalism. They’re very smart. Their linemen do incredible work, and it’s not easy work – it’s hot, grueling work, and they do a great job,” Rouzer said. “We have the benefit of a lot of experience with the number of hurricanes and ice storms (that have hit the area). That has enabled Duke and others to have a lot of practice to learn what works and what doesn’t work, and with each storm and exercise, they’re continuing to refine and improve their operation.”

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