With tropical weather already churning in the Atlantic, Progress Energy encourages customers to get prepared for the coming hurricane season, which officially starts June 1.
Progress Energy says it is ready to respond to whatever Mother Nature brings, with a detailed plan in place to activate workers quickly and decisively in response to major storms. The plan also enables the company to mobilize thousands of other employees who train outside their normal jobs for storm-specific duties in support of restoration efforts.
Progress Energy employees perform a variety of jobs during storms, from arranging staging and logistical details to assessing storm damage, answering customer calls, and, most visibly, repairing damage and restoring power throughout the company’s 34,000-square-mile service area. Last August, this company wide focus enabled Progress Energy to reduce outage times and speed restoration during Hurricane Irene.
“Last summer’s Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Alberto already this spring are reminders that major storms can and do strike the Carolinas,” said Lloyd Yates, president and CEO of Progress Energy Carolinas. “We’re prepared to respond in the event that major storms damage the electric system that our customers depend on. We know our customers rely on us to restore service quickly after storms and keep them informed.”
Hurricane Irene, which struck the North Carolina coast on Aug. 27, 2011, affected more than 450,000 customers and caused significant damage to Progress Energy’s electric system. Nearly 2,000 line and tree workers, some from as far away as Florida, Arkansas and Texas, worked to remove fallen trees and rebuild power lines. Crews restored service to most customers within 72 hours, despite a second strong line of storms that moved through the region during the restoration effort.
Easy options for reporting and tracking outages
Customers can report outages using Progress Energy’s automated outage reporting line at 1-800-419-6356. The system is capable of handling more than 120,000 calls per hour. The utility also provides online resources to allow customers to report outages using computers and compatible mobile devices. Progress Energy encourages customers interested in using mobile devices or computers to report outages to register in advance of storm season. Customers will need their account number, located on their bill, to register.
To keep customers informed following a storm, the company has developed an online outage map showing up-to-date information about current outages and estimated restoration times.
For information on all of the utility’s outage reporting and tracking options, visit progress-energy.com/storm.
Progress Energy also provides major storm updates on Twitter and Facebook. Customers can follow Progress Energy at twitter.com/progressenergy and facebook.com/progressenergycarolinas.
Tips to stay ahead of the storm
Progress Energy urges customers to take steps now to be prepared in advance of hurricane season:
• Create (or inventory and update) an emergency supply kit containing the following items: portable radio with fresh batteries, flashlight, first-aid kit, non-cordless landline phone, canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration, several days’ supply of drinking water, medicine and cash.
• Review your insurance policy and put a copy in your supply kit along with copies of other important paperwork.
• Review your evacuation plan and decide where you will stay if you need to leave your home. Don’t forget to include your pets in the plan. Many shelters don’t accept animals.
• If you or someone you care for relies on electric-powered life-support equipment, make plans to move to a facility outside of the storm’s projected path to avoid the risk of an extended power outage.
• Check outside your home for trees or shrubs that need to be trimmed or appear weak. Call a professional to trim any trees or shrubs near power lines.
For additional storm information and safety tips, visit progress-energy.com/storm.