Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Lost power? Don’t panic, here’s what to do

A Duke Energy employee in a bucket working on ice covered power lines after an ice storm. (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY DUKE ENERGY)
A Duke Energy employee in a bucket working on ice covered power lines after an ice storm. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY DUKE ENERGY)

WILMINGTON — The National Weather Service has placed much of Southeastern North Carolina under a winter storm warning and power outages are a possibility due to cold weather and potential ice.

Power outages have been reported in the Wilmington area, although they have been isolated incidents, Grace Rountree spokesperson for Duke Energy said.

“The low temperatures we’re experiencing will put higher stress on mechanical equipment used to generate and deliver electricity to customers. Isolated equipment problems are possible, which could result in scattered outages. Our line technicians and service crews are available throughout our service area and are ready to respond to outages if they occur,” Rountree said.

Residents who are experiencing a power outage are encouraged to report it to Duke Energy, and are asked not to expect the company to be aware of the situation. Residents can call 1-800-419-6356, text “OUT” to 57801, or report the outage online.

“With the colder than normal temperatures, it also is a good time to check on friends, neighbors and family members who may be elderly to ensure they have what they need to stay warm and that their emergency kits are ready in the event of a power outage,” according to a Duke Energy press release.

You can find helpful hints for building an emergency kit suitable for power outages at the Ready.gov disaster preparedness website.

Rountree also offered tips for powerline safety in the event of ice or tree limbs bringing down lines. Aside from ice or branches, if there is ice on the roads there is a risk of cars sliding into utility pole bringing causing a disruption in power, she said.

Power line safety tips:

  • Stay away from downed or sagging power lines, and do not touch anything that is on or near a power line (i.e., trees or tree limbs, cars, ladders).
  • Keep children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen (backyards, fields, school yards, etc.).
  • If a power line falls across a car that you’re in, stay in the car. If you MUST get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
  • Report all power line hazards to Duke Energy or your local emergency services department or agency.

Prepare for power outage

  • Make sure your phone and other necessary devices are fully charged
  • Make sure your car has adequate fuel (if it’s parked in a garage with an automatic door, make sure you know how to manually operate it)
  • More tips from Ready.gov.

During power outage

  • Keep your freezer and refrigerator closed. Unopened, they can maintain temperatures for up to 48 hours.
  • Avoid running generators or lighting candles inside
  • Unplug major appliances, as power restoration may come with an electrical “surge” that can damage some electronics (you can also use surge protectors)
  • More tips, including what to after an outage, from Ready.gov

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