More power outages expected

Feb. 13, 2014 @ 06:13 PM

People experienced scattered power outages as a result of the winter storm that blew through the state Wednesday and Thursday.

As of 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Duke Energy was reporting about 130,000 outages in the Carolinas. There were 30,000 more Duke Energy outages reported as of 8 a.m. Thursday and at 11 a.m., that number had jumped up to 205,000.

By 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Duke Energy spokesman Luke Currin said there were about 1,600 Tri-County residents without power: 1,000 in Vance, 420 in Granville and 220 in Warren County.

On Wednesday, the Wilmington area was hardest hit, but the Duke spokesman said that could very easily change.

“We’re only in the second day of it,” he said. “We’re going to see other areas start to be hit very hard.”

And, because of the nature of winter storms, once the power goes out it will likely stay out for awhile. Currin said with regular storms, it’s easy for crews to get out to downed lines to fix them. But adding snow and ice into the mix brings a host of other problems.

It takes more time for workers to get out to the problem site, and, when they get there, they must assess the situation to determine what they’ll need to get power back to those who lost it.

“It depends on the area, but these are going to be lengthy outages,” he said. “Some of these are going to be multi-day outages.”

To help deal with the fallout from the storm, Duke Energy has about 3,400 workers out in the field. Some were brought in from the Midwest and Florida to help the utility have crews out around the clock.

Currin said freezing rain continues to be the main concern because it ices the lines and can weigh them or bring down nearby tree limbs.

“We’re seeing scattered outages across the system,” he said. “Snow and sleet are OK because those bounce off the power lines.”

Contact the writer at vshortley@hendersondispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at @herding_stets.