Wednesday morning about 63,000 Progress Energy customers in the Carolinas were without power due to the winter storm. That is down from a peak of 93,000 customers on Tuesday. The hardest hit areas in South Carolina include Florence, Sumter and Marion counties and Columbus County in North Carolina.
Due to the severe damage caused by trees and tree limbs down on power lines, customers could be without power for multiple days. In addition, ice laden trees and limbs may continue to fall as the day progresses, causing more power outages. This factor, combined with hazardous driving conditions, may slow the restoration process.
Crews are working in the affected areas to repair damage caused by the freezing rain, sleet and snow. More than 1,800 personnel are mobilized and responding to outages in the Carolinas.
"We know that being without power during cold weather is difficult, and we appreciate our customers' patience as crews work around the clock," said Jackie Joyner, Progress Energy system storm coordinator. "If you do have power, we hope you will keep the needs of your friends and neighbors in mind."
What do you do if the power goes out?
Because of high call volume during a storm, the quickest way to report an outage is to call Progress Energy's automated outage-reporting system, (800) 419-6356. In the first 48 hours after a storm, restoration times are difficult to predict. If customers are without heat, they may want to consider moving themselves and their family - especially those with special needs - to an alternate location during an extended outage.
After severe weather, electrical company crews takes specific steps to restore power. A crew coordinator first assesses damage and determines what crews, equipment and supplies will be needed to make repairs.
For more information about this story, please read the January 29, 2004 edition of the Cheraw Chronicle or the Chesterfield Advertiser.